Posts Tagged ‘Chinese’


February 27, 2015 Comments off


If you want to stay informed about Asian art exhibits in North America, Asia, Europe and Australia – look it up in the Asian Art Newspaper, published every month. Has in-depth articles on artists, museums, cities with Asian art collections.

paper and digital

Equally informative is TEXTILES ASIA Journal. The January edition carries a wonderful article on the significance of the zodiac animal of sheep – at the beginning of a new lunar year of the sheep, decoration on Angkorian architecture decoration and their connection and presentation on textiles; Barkcloth at the Djakarta Textile Museum; Taiwan National Museum’s exhibition of the Qipao, the Mandarin term for cheongsam, the stylish and tight fitting dress made fashionable by Shanghai society in the 1920s.

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October 29, 2013 Leave a comment


ART MARKET (not often seen)

ART MARKET IN CHINA (rarely seen)

FORGING  (seen with some frequency not necessarily front page)

Who will make this into  movie? 

I am in the middle of authenticating and appraising for insurance purposes and perhaps resale purposes, for a Chinese born client several 18th and 19th century porcelains (no problem) and several black ink on paper paintings signed  Qi Baishi (will not do this). Client explained that there were many high  auction records in China for similar ceramics and paintings. Yes there are and I was about  to explain that the Chinese auction market has played havoc with appraisal values and with auction results,  and with transparency, and why a Chinese artist may want to render something in an earlier style to pay respects to an earlier master  (all so  clearly set out in a book I recently blogged about: ORIGINAL INTENTIONS, ESSAYS ON PRODUCTION, REPRODUCTION, AND INTERPRETATION IN THE ARTS OF CHINA, Pearce/Steuber, 2012 University Press of Florida), and that as an appraiser at this time, we cannot rely so much on Chinese auction records.

But instead I handed my client the NYT article spread over three and one half pages! The article  explains why the art market in China has taken off so fast over the last few years, why Chinese artists rank first  or seem to rank first as best selling artists in the world, why  auction prices in China are so high, what in the Chinese culture  entices the Chinese buyer to buy and then not infrequently not pay,  how the reverence for earlier masterworks  is  seen as contributing to forgeries as I mentioned above,  and why the raising of a paddle in the west and in China seems to have different interpretations.

Here it is:

Recomended Titles

I recently came across a few very interesting books that I wanted to share with you.

 McDermott, Hiroko T. and Pollard, Clare, Oxford, 2012.
thredFor years I have tried to convince clients, collectors  and dealers of the merits of late 19th/early 20th century Japanese textiles, some made for export. These are very accomplished embroideries, often with resist-dye silks and velvets, tapestry works,  and appliqué – used for large textiles but also for  kimonos we so much admire. I believe they were  and  still are not appreciated so much because they date from a relatively late period but one forgets that many of these techniques are no longer used today and have become rare. The textiles and kimonos once used are no longer in demand. If you find an artist in Japan who still works with these techniques, his/her works are often more expensive than the older version.
I believe this is the first English language book  on this subject.
So enjoy this book!
2. Something on a controversial subject — because not so much understood by Westerners. It does not have to be controversial!
Pearce, Nicholas & Steuber, Jason, Gainesville 2012.
2This book deals with the old question of authenticity – in Chinese culture everything has a precedent,  and paintings, sculpture and other works are produced, reproduced, replicated not so much to fake but to render something  according to  and in hommage to earlier masters. This approach goes back all the way to antiquity when jade and bronze pieces from earlier periods were replicated. Later emperors excelled in producing wares imitating such earlier renditions.
There is a fundamental difference between faking to cheat – detested by the Chinese scholar and artist, and copying a work of art; the difference is clearly expressed in the language of Chinese connoisseurship –intention is everything.  The books deals with ceramics, paintings, sculptural pieces and paintings.
3. Ending with a Japanese artist who was born at the beginning of the Meiji period (1868-1912) when Japan opened up to the West and western ideas, western perspective.
Marks, Andreas, Petaluma, 2012
3Kamisaka Sekka (1866-1942) was one of Japan’s leading artist, designer and art instructor. He led the revival of the 17th century Rinpa style while at the same time  creating modern designs  in ceramics, lacquer ware, textiles and woodblock prints, combining Japanese and Western design influences.  I especially admire his woodblock prints which can be bold and elegant at the same time. The Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture in Hanford, California  had an exhibition about Kamisaka Sekka in summer  2012 featuring his paintings, scrolls and prints.
Read and Enjoy!
Elisabeth and Natasha


November 2, 2012 Leave a comment
 Held at the WEISS GALLERY, 520 West 24th Street, New York.
I am bringing this courtesy art and find it very interesting that a Chinese artist takes on China’s fake industry as it relates to art and myths and legends. I do not like the word fake because some things are outright fakes but others are faithful renditions of earlier master pieces produced without intent to fake and made respectfully and to honor a previous master.  I let you decide what is a fake and what is a rendition. I like the stainless Meiping  vase!
NEW YORK, NY.- Mike Weiss Gallery presents MADE IN CHINA, Chinese artist Liao Yibai’s third solo show at the gallery. Inspired by China’s lucrative fake antique industry, twenty plus hand welded stainless steel sculptures displayed on “antiqued” pedestals tell the artist’s version of China’s rich history through three unique series: Fake Antiques, Fake Evidence, and Legends. The title MADE IN CHINA is not only a reference to the origin of the works and the traditional Chinese objets d’art that inspired them, but also to the ubiquitous “MADE IN CHINA” tag which adorns a majority of goods imported into the United States. By producing innovative fakes, Yibai exposes the value of truth.

Yibai replicates treasures from the Ming, Qing, Yuan, and other dynasties as he marries ancient forms with pressing contemporary issues in his Fake Antiques. Embellished with playful characters from his previous series, often donning slippers and boxing gloves, large vessels such as Ding, Dragon Vase Ocean, and Dragon Vase Earth are emblazoned with nuclear clouds, swine flu viruses, and acid rain in a beautiful visual tango with traditional lotus and dragon motifs. Chairman’s Chair, a life-sized throne riddled with arrows, is the artist’s wry summation of 5,000 years of China’s history and its constant struggle for power.

Yibai’s ironic story telling continues with his Fake Evidence presented in the form of dragon and panda eggs, skulls, and dinosaur fossils. In Panda’s Egg, a cracked egg hatching a panda bear sits in an intricate nest of twigs, while Dinosaur’s Fossil shows an entire family of dinosaurs tangled with diamonds. Alluding to the false sense of security one feels in accepting what is presented as factual archeological evidence, the artist goes to great lengths in attempting to prank future museum patrons.

Parrot, Chinese Legend and Machine Gun belong to the Legends series, in which Yibai recontextualizes well-known Chinese mythology to tell cautionary tales, like the story of the emperor’s famed talking pet parrot that has outlived the emperor and is passed onto the emperor’s son. The parrot serves as a lone witness for the past emperor’s acts, both good and bad. In an effort to silence the truth, the emperor’s surviving son chains and binds the parrot’s mouth shut in a literal attempt at censorship. Chinese Legend, a large Ming style cabinet, sets the stage for great myths and tales, such as the adventure of the Monkey King, the ill-fated story of the Butterfly Lovers, the building of the Great Wall and the Cult of Mao, to name but a few. It is a gleaming tribute to the splendors and trials of China, as well her majestic landscape that is now under threat.

“Liao’s museological hoax is the latest in his irreverent, irresistible series of ‘Real Fakes’ that, coming full circle, end as they begin as independent works of art, rather than fake.”

–Lilly Wei. “The Real Fake Annals of Liao Yibai,” in MADE IN CHINA catalog

Liao Yibai graduated from the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts in 1997. His work has been exhibited extensively throughout China, United States, and Europe. Yibai currently lives and works in Chongqing, China with his wife and daughter.”


October 16, 2012 Leave a comment

If you would like to see Ai  Weiwei’s artistic and social statements up close, go to the Hirshhorn in Washingon,D.C. Exhibition is titled “ACCORDING TO WHAT?” and runs through 24 February, 2013.

Most art created or almost everything created by this artist has double and triple meanings – not unique with Chinese art.  Look at the large gathering of  very realistic ceramic crabs, a work  titled He Xie. The NYT reports that in Shanghai in 2010 Mr. Ai gave a dinner party at his studio serving delicious river crabs – shortly before his studio was destroyed by the authorities. He served crabs because they were in season but  also because the Chinese word he xie has a double meaning, it means crabs but also harmony – which has become the accepted phrase for official censorship by maintaining harmony.

Enjoy 3,200  crabs!




Todd Sigety of Appraisal Workshops wrote “The Chinese Furniture Market” summarizing Victoria Maw’s article “Chinese Fortune” in the Financial Times. As China’s population of millionaires has now reached 1.4 million, there are currently many mainland Chinese collectors who are interested in buying back exquisite 17th and 18th century Chinese art and antiques. This group of collectors has evolved quickly within the past decade or so, and has had the effect of allowing antiques to attain unparalleled selling prices, while also shifting the antiques market to attend more to China than to Europe and the United States. Many Asian antiques dealers in the United States have gone out of business due to a high demand for first-rate furniture from Chinese collectors, as well as  from expensive shipping costs. As many eager Chinese collectors are buying Chinese antiques, the surviving Western antique dealers are struggling to find pieces for prices they can afford.

According to Maw’s article, there are three magnificent types of wood that only the highest quality of antique Chinese furniture comes in:huanghuali, which is a yellow-toned rosewood, zitan, which is a purple-colored wood, and jichimu, which has a grain resembling bird feathers. Furniture carved from these precious types of wood have skyrocketed in value — now selling for over ten times more than their previous value. There are other types of wood that  you might consider if interested in purchasing antique Chinese furniture with out an exorbitant price, such as walnut or nanmu. However, it is advised to purchase furniture with caution, as out of all of the different types of wood and pieces of furniture, only a tiny fraction of these pieces were made in the same era and with the quality of the workshops that made pieces from the three precious huanghualizitan, and jichimu woods.

On a different level, we see an abundance of provincial furniture, pieces made from old wood, sometimes partially old, sometimes artificially aged, sometimes lacquered, often of elm and pine — handsome furniture but beware of age. Some of the pieces are fairly inexpensive. We have recently come across a number of these provincial pieces sold in Tokyo at Chinese antique stores — an indication that these pieces are less expensive and more available than antique Japanese furniture — and also less expensive than Korean renditions of Japanese furniture and Chinese renditions of Japanese furniture. Not too long ago, I have seen a step tansu marked as made in Korea with an asking price of $ 4,000.

The website URL to the online article covered by Appraiser Workshops can be accessed here: <>

The website link to the original full-length article from the Financial Times can be accessed here: <>

The website link to the Cabinet carved from Zitan wood sold by Sotheby’s can be accessed here: <

The picture shown is of a portion of a quarter-panel cabinet carved from Zitan wood from the Qing Dynasty, and sold by Sotheby’s for € 2,528,750.

Best regards

Elisabeth and Natasha
The China Coast

Discovery of an Imperial Double Gourd Seal

March 15, 2012 1 comment
If you have followed Bonham’s like I have for many many years you will be delighted to hear about their discovery of an Imperial double gourd seal that will be offered at auction in London on May 17th. Here are photos of both sides.

  Qianlong Emperor’s seal from Beijing’s Forbidden City heads Bonhams Fine Chinese Art sale The rare double-gourd shaped seal, measuring 8.7cm long, has been authenticated by the leading Chinese academic in this field, Guo Fuxiang, of the Palace Museum, Beijing. Photo: Bonhams. LONDON.- An important Imperial spinach green jade double-gourd ‘San Xi Tang’ seal, of the revered Qianlong period (1736-1795), estimated to sell for over £1m, is one of the outstanding items in Bonhams Fine Chinese Art sale on 17th May, in London. The rare double-gourd shaped seal, measuring 8.7cm long, has been authenticated by the leading Chinese academic in this field, Guo Fuxiang, of the Palace Museum, Beijing. San Xi Tang, (the Hall of the Three Rarities), is situated in the Forbidden City in the western side of the Yangxin Dian (Hall of Mental Cultivation). The Qianlong Emperor kept three prized rare scrolls in the building: Wang Xizhi’s Kuaixue Shiqing Tie (timely clearing after snowfall), Wang Xianzhi’s Zhongqiu (Mid-Autumn festival), and Wang Xun’s Bai Yuan Tie (letter to Boyuan), amongst other important antiquities. The actual size of the San Xi Tang hall in which the seal was kept is only 4 square meters but it was an important personal space of the Qianlong Emperor. The seal is carved in an auspicious double-gourd form, associated with longevity as well as representing Heaven and Earth. The upper section is carved with three chi dragons (chilong), analogous to the hall name. The forthcoming Fine Chinese Art sale also includes a large and important Imperial jade mountain dedicated by Li Hong Zhang to Prince Gong (6th son of the Daoguang Emperor), estimated at £400,000-600,000. Asaph Hyman, Director of Chinese Art at Bonhams, comments: “We are delighted to have brought to light this important and long lost Imperial seal. Until this moment only the impression of the seal was recorded in the Imperial archives, but now academics and distinguished collectors can study and cherish the actual work of art. It was almost certainly commissioned and personally handled by the Qianlong Emperor himself, and provides a direct link to one of the most important Emperors in China”s history.” Further research by Bonhams Chinese Art Department has revealed another exciting aspect of the Qianlong Imnperial seal’s history. An album of seals of the Emperor Qianlong, presently in the Musée Guimet in Paris (ref. BG31149) records an impression of the seal. Bonhams Chinese Art Department Director, Asaph Hyman, notes: “This is an exciting discovery which lends further depth to the history of the seal.”

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October 19, 2011 Leave a comment

The exhibition is part of San Antonio’s yearlong celebration of Taiwan and features pieces from the Arthur M.  Sackler Museum, Smithsonian, and the  National Museum of History, Taiwan. The exhibits and catalogue are arranged chronologically.

Doyle’s of New York Asian Art Auction September 13th, 2011

September 15, 2011 Leave a comment
Jade, snuff bottles and ivory sold very well.
While  some pieces reached exceptional prices (pair of small jade table screens and a large Coromandel screen), here are a few that could be obtained for relatively little:

“Thai gilt bronze Buddha head, 17th century, sold for $ 1,250.
“Thai gilt and lacquered wood standing Buddha, Height 59 inches, 20th century”; sold for $1,250. Of course this is a Mandalay style Burmese piece – rendition.
“Japanese school 19th century hanging scroll”; sold for $ 1,000.
This Chinese Longquan Celadon Meiping had an estimate of $ 8,000/12,000 and sold for $ 65,000 – a gorgeous piece! Have to show this one. 
Chinese gilt-bronze bell with Kangxi cast mark, 11 1/2″ high  –  I simply show this  because it is quite rare, and sold for $ 482,500, with an estimate of $ 6,000/9,000 – nice   surprise!


September 3, 2011 Leave a comment
October 1, 2011 to February 19, 2012
This is a fabulous exhibition with loans from the National Museum of History, Taiwan, the Sackler Collection/Smithsonian and the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum (part of the Springfield Museums) in Massachusetts.  The exhibition is arranged chronologically displaying the principal types  of jade, including ritual objects, weapons, scholar’s objects, adornments and jewelry. John Johnston, Curator for Asian Art at the San Antonio Museum of Art is the Project Director for this exhibit. He has also written an article about the little known jade collection of the colorful collector George Walter Vincent Smith in the September 2011 issue of Orientations, page 105. 
John Johnston will give a lecture on January 31st 2012 about DRAGONS IN CHINESE JADE, celebrating the Year of the Dragon!!!!!!