Freeman's began its autumn auction season with an impressive $3.9 million result in the September 12 Asian Arts sale. Despite a less than ideal economic forecast from China, the sale attracted bidders from across the globe. Collectors from China, Japan, Thailand, Australia and the United Kingdom competed against each other for works from private collections in this thoughtfully curated selection of imperial and scholarly works.
"Prior to Saturday, colleagues, clients and most importantly consignors, had expressed their concern for how the tumultuous Chinese stock market would affect this fall's auction season. Admittedly, my own confidence was somewhat shaken. I am both relieved and proud to discover the Chinese art market has a strong will to not only survive, but thrive," said Asian Arts department head Richard Cervantes of the sale.
The highlight of the sale, which drew attention from serious collectors around the globe, were Lots 129 and 130, two Imperial Chinese gilt bronze ritual bells. Each bell doubled pre-sale estimates to bring $605,000. Also known as bianzhong, bells of this type were ﬁxtures outside and within temples located in the Forbidden City and were assembled in graduating sets of sixteen, suspended in two tiers of eight on tall and elaborate wooden frames. On holy days of sacrifice at the Temple of Heaven, these bells would be struck to open the ritual witnessed by the Emperor and his court.
There was also a great deal of excitement surrounding an ink and color work on paper attributed to one of the most significant modern Chinese artists, Fu Baoshi. The work, depicting Six Dynasties poet Tao Yuanming sold for $413,000 after competitive bidding from collectors both on the phone and in the room. "The sale of this painting demonstrates that there is still potential for privately consigned property to achieve dynamic prices," said Richard Cervantes.
Top Five Lots from Freeman's September 12 Asian Arts Auction
- Lot 129: An Imperial Chinese gilt bronze ritual bell, bianzhong, Ming dynasty. Sold for $605,000
- Lot 130: An Imperial Chinese gilt bronze ritual bell, bianzhong, Ming dynasty. Sold for $605,000
- Lot 412: Attributed to Fu Baoshi (20th Century) "Depicting Tao Yuanming." Sold for $413,000
- Lot 241: A rare Chinese opaque turquoise glass brush pot. Qianlong four character mark. Sold for $197,000
- Lot 8: A pair of Chinese iron red enamled porcelain holy water bottles. Qianlong period. Sold for $106,250
Freeman’s Asian Arts department is now accepting consignments for the March 2016 auction. Please contact Richard Cervantes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 267.414.1219 for details.