Archive for the ‘Chinese’ Category

Empress Cixi of China

February 27, 2018 Leave a comment

Somebody asked me about a book about Empress Cixi of China (1835-1908); Cixi had huge obstacles to overcome; she is much maligned but this 2013 biography by Jung Chang EMPRESS DOWAGER CIXI, THE CONCUBINE WHO LAUNCHED MODERN CHINA paints a somewhat different picture.

Empress Cixi of China


More books about global trade……

February 17, 2018 Leave a comment

silk trade


By Teresa Canepa, London 2016.

Global trade via trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific networks satisfying the demand for luxury goods, creating profitable opportunities for Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and English merchants. The book explains that Chinese porcelains and silk was produced and shipped in great quantities whereas practically all Japanese lacquer traded by the Europeans was made to order. The book is said to be exceptionally well illustrated.





January 22, 2018 Leave a comment

Although this exhibit is closed now- I wanted to bring this to your attention because it highlighted a new painting style that emerged in China in the late 19th and then 20th century. I was not aware of this type of painting.

BAPO CHINA’S EIGHT BROKENS was an exhibit at the Museum of Fine Art Boston.

I quote freely from an article by Eliza Sullivan 6/15/2017.

The paintings were created by painting depictions of fragments of different items, often images and calligraphy, mimicking collages. Dr. Nancy Berliner, the Wu Tung Curator of Chinese Art (she brought the Yin Yu Tang house, moved from China and rebuilt at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts) first discovered bapo at a flea market in China as a student. It had been a relatively unknown style, neglected by museums because it was not a painting with landscape and figures. Bapo translates as “eight broken”, focusing on treasures of the past. Eight is a lucky number conveying wishes for good fortune.

Follow the link to read about this style.



broken pieces


to open January 20, 2018


2010 Flora Street in Dallas

The exhibit will pair antique pieces ( Three Kingdom period 57 BCE-935 CE ) with outstanding examples of contemporary ceramics. Korean ceramic tradition goes back some 7000 years and although Korean potters were imported and were instrumental in the Chinese and Korean ceramic production, it was not until the 1960s that they were considered and sought after by dealers and collectors.

ceramics at the crow



Museum for Vancouver

SINGAPOREAN BILLIONAIRE plans to build Asian Art Museum in Vancouver  dedicated to Asian and Buddhist Art.

Oei Hong Leon, a part time resident of Vancouver, loves Buddhism “not so much as religion but as a personal philosophy “. He owns about 50,000 pieces now housed in a private museum in Singapore.

At the same time the Vancouver International Centre of Contemporary Asian Art, and proponents like Robert H. N. Ho and China’s Poly Culture Group have suggested to build a museum for Chinese Art in Vancouver. My comment: The Poly Culture Group operates as a culture and art company in China – as art business and auction, as performance and theater management and as cinema investment and management company – all specially fostered by China Poly Group, a gigantic state owned Chinese business- if I am not mistaken.

And Poly Culture has launched a flagship art gallery for rare artifacts from Beijing’s Famous Summer Palace – in Vancouver.

I must visit Vancouver soon!!!




An interesting situation developed for a Chinese National Treasure— a painting hanging in the Forbidden Palace in Beijing and by some scholars long thought not to be the original by the Five Dynasties court painter Zhou Wenju (active  942-961) but a rendering by the Sung  Emperor Zhou who delighted in rendering or making studies of earlier masterworks— an activity often encountered in Chinese art.


The book “Original Intentions” edited by Nicholas Pearce and Jason Steuber deals extensively with productions, reproductions and interpretations in the arts of China (University Press of Florida 2012). Such later renderings of original works of art make it often enormously difficult to authenticate Chinese paintings. And who is to say whether  the original or the  exact rendering of the original should be worth more?
Now a painting has surfaced in New York  that is thought to be the original  done by the artist himself. The painting will be offered by Gianguan Auctions, formerly Hong Kong Auctions on March 19th. The painting is titled “Chess Game abut of Screen”.
I am curious who is behind Gianguan Auctions?  A quick internet search:
Gianguan Auctions

Gianguan Auctions (also known as Hong Kong Auctions) specializes in Chinese and Asian arts and has a wide clientele from China and Asia. Established in Hong Kong in 2002, a New York office opened in 2004. Four times a year, auctions are held at the Lefcourt Building on New York’s Madison Ave. Under the management of Mr. Kwong Lum, Gianguan has successfully sourced high-quality consignments that has resulted in record prices. Recently, Mr. Lum was appointed by Beijing’s National Museum’s Appraisal Centre as its chief consultant, an exceptional honour, which solidifies their reputation as experts in Chinese, antiques.

Gianguan Auctions Fine Chinese Art Auctions include an important selection of American Chinese private collections of traditional painting and calligraphy, bronzes, porcelain, jade and scholars items, dating from the Soong Dynasty to contemporary time with representations from each period”.

Go to to see the catalogue of their upcoming auction.
Elisabeth and Natasha


Yes there is some.
The spotlight has very long now been on very hot and very much in demand Chinese art resulting in sometimes exorbitant prices and sometimes these sales are not paid for.  But this is not what I want to talk about.
Lark Mason ( the Chinese art and antiques expert, independent curator, appraiser, consultant, educator and author and founder and president of iGavel Auctions and Chairman of Asia Week New York said something recently that resonated with me:
There are several areas of  fine, tribal and folk Asian art that can be purchased for under $ 5,000. He pointed to several areas:  Meiji period (1868-1912), (and later Japanese art I might add) such as bronze, ceramic and lacquer objects. I can think of several that recently sold at auction in the $ 1,200 to $ 5,000 range. Depending on your budget there are  also Japanese screens, Japanese contemporary ceramics, 19th century Japanese paintings all available in a reasonable price range.
Mr. Mason also mentioned art from Southeast Asia Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Sri Lanka (and Laos and Indonesia I might add). SEA art is my specialty and I follow it closely. Many pieces especially from Cambodia can be quite expensive in comparison with the neighboring countries.
And there are Japanese woodblock prints. I just read a press release by Scholten Japanese Art participating in Asia Week with the exhibition: Ukiyo-e Tales: Stories from the Floating World. Most of you are familiar with color woodblock prints  and many were made in huge quantities, are still available in large quantities or at least later renditions thereof. Authentic prints, perhaps from the 18th and early 19th century, from a specific genre (kabuki actors, beautiful woman, warriors, erotica, etc), by an artist who did not produce so many prints and might be less known can be a good find and a little more expensive but still very reasonable for such a work of art. Scholten offers a very fine print by Eisen dated ca. 1830 for $ 3,800.
A dealer whose Japanese prints I have followed for a long time – – offers several 20th century ukiyo-e prints between $ 5,000 and $ 10,000 and I wish I would have purchased them when these artists were in the $ 2,000 range and it was not that long ago.  Check them out and his more recent prints.
Martha Sutherland of  M. Sutherland mentions Chinese album leaf paintings by well known artists  to be quite affordable, under $ 5,000, whereas larger  works  by the same artists would be quite expensive.
I must not forget India having recently appraised some Chola pieces I am aware of the  high price tag but there are lesser known periods of Indian art, such as Nayak period as pointed out by Sanjay Kapoor of Kapoor Galleries.
So we should all have fun and  focus on one reasonably priced niche of Asian art it is quite doable! Very dangerous for me who has accumulated more than I can handle.
Elisabeth and Natasha