Christie's charge a premium to the buyer on the final bid price of each lot sold at the following rates: 23.8% of the final bid price of each lot sold up to and including €150,000 and 14.28% of any amount in excess of €150,000. Buyers' premium is calculated on the basis of each lot individually.
The collection of the late Major General Baron H. van Hemert tot Dingshof (1879 -1972)
The interior photographs of the home of Captain Baron Haro van Hemert tot Dingshof in Peking show that he had become a passionate collector of Chinese porcelain and works of art during his stay in China. According to his biographer Dr Ph.M. Bosscher, Baron van Hemert collected most of his life and was equally interested in European Art. The most important piece offered in this sale, is a rare Wucai censer with a cyclical date corresponding to the year 1673 (lot 187). The highlight however will be offered in our Rooms in London on 12 July 2005 and is a very rare and exceptional blue and white jar from the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368).
Captain van Hemert enlisted in the navy as a naval cadet at the age of 12 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps on 21 September 1900. After first serving in Bali, he became commander of the Netherlands Legation Guard in Peking from 1913 till 1923. During this period, in 1921, he married Kichy Urata, who came from a distinguished Japanese family.
Captain van Hemert was stationed in Peking during a very tumultuous period in the aftermath of the Boxer Rebellion and during the First World War.
The Boxers, or "The Righteous and Harmonious Fists", were a religious society that had originally rebelled against the imperial government in Shantung in 1898. The rebellion culminated in the siege of the legation Quarter in Peking from June 20th till August 14th, 1900.
The Legation Quarter contained 11 Legations in an enclave roughly three quarters of a mile square, separated from the rest of the city on three sides by 30 to 40 foot high walls. The diplomats, businessmen and families of the Legation Quarter were isolated, and not just physically since for the most part they were only allowed formal contacts with Chinese ministers.
The so-called Boxer Protocol that followed these hostilities resulted in an expansion of the Quarter as well as the permanent stationing of foreign forces in Peking, Tientsin, and at several other points to guard the lines of communication between the capital and the sea. Effectively the Legation Quarter became a self-administered multinational enclave within China.
Although the main function of each Legation Guard was to protect the Legation compound and its nationals, the overall protection and security of the Quarter could only be realised through the combined efforts of the various individual Legation Guards. Thus the main duties of the Commander were to manage the strength of his own detachment as well as to coordinate the contributions of the Legation Guard to the overall security plan for the Quarter.
This assignment became even more challenging with the outbreak of World War I. As a result of the war, the Legation Quarter was effectively inhabited by three factions: the Western Allies, the Central European Powers and the Neutral Countries. In 1917, China joined the allied forces and issued a declaration of war against Germany and Austria-Hungary. At the same time, the Netherlands Legation was entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding the German and Austro-Hungarian legation complexes and looking after the interests of the interned staff.
The situation became further complicated by the ongoing power struggle within the Chinese government and the position of the Chinese imperial family, in particular the turmoil surrounding the position of the Chinese emperor Pu-yi. After being deposed from temporal power in 1912, Pu-yi was briefly restored as emperor by the pro monarchist warlord from the Anhui province, General Chang Hsun on 1st July 1917, but was forced to abdicate again on 8th July 1917.
In the aftermath of this brief restoration period, General Chang Hsun was granted asylum at the Netherlands Legation together with the former Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Liang Tun-Yen. In 1918, both men where allowed to leave the Legation after being granted a safe-passage by the Chinese Government.
It was against this background that Baron van Hemert soon gained a reputation for his organisational and diplomatic skills. The overall success of safeguarding the integrity of the Legation while also looking after the German and Austro-Hungarian interests can be directly traced to his competence as an outstanding officer, which also earned him the necessary respect from his military counterparts at the other Legation Guards.
After his departure from Peking, he was stationed in Japan, Surabaya (Dutch East Indies) and the Netherlands. At the outbreak of World War II he played an important role in building up a reservist marine battalion while garrisoned on the island of Walcheren. In 1955 he was promoted to the rank of Major General (titular).
1. Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, US and The Netherlands
Bibliography: Dr. Ph.M. Bosscher, De Gezantschapswacht te Peking, Marineblad no. 8 - 1965