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Bonanza Chinese sale at Chorley's

PUBLISHED: 18:14 21 April 2011 | UPDATED: 19:14 20 February 2013

A superb pair of ivory, gilt bronze and hard stone panels, Qing dynasty, estimate £150,000-200,000.

A superb pair of ivory, gilt bronze and hard stone panels, Qing dynasty, estimate £150,000-200,000.

After the success of their 2010 sale, Chorley's are preparing for another successful Chinese invasion this month

Bonanza Chinese sale at Chorleys

After the success of their 2010 sale, Chorleys are preparing for another successful Chinese invasion this month

The Chinese art market is booming. This phenomenon recently gained wider public attention when a vase sold for a record 43 million at a provincial sale. The driving force behind the record prices currently being achieved is the explosion in the number of wealthy Chinese buyers combined with the desire to buy back their heritage.

Provincial auctioneers have benefited from this market as it has come about at the same time as the rise of the online catalogue. Now mainland Chinese buyers are able to buy the best objects directly from smaller salerooms rather than having to wait for objects to reach the London salerooms via a series of middle men.

The feeding frenzy for Chinese art has already struck once at Chorleys in 2010 when a yen yen vase decorated with geese fetched 100,000 and a brushpot with a poem inscribed to one side and a landscape to the other saw 75,000. Chorleys are now preparing for another Chinese invasion on Thursday, May 19 when they will hold an Asian Art sale that includes several important lots. The sale will incorporate bronzes, porcelain, jade and objects from a wide historical period with estimates ranging from under 100 all the way to 300,000.

The star lot of the sale is a jade marriage bowl from the Qianlong period (1736-1795). This is carved from a single piece of celadon-white jade with areas of russet skin, and the loose ring handles suspended beneath phoenix masks. Not only is it fine quality, it is also an auspicious subject: the phoenix was often used as a wedding decoration as it represents good relations between a husband and wife. Estimated at 200,000-300,000 it is sure to generate interest from collectors worldwide. It has an impeccable provenance having been in a family collection for many years. It still has a label beneath for Bluetts, one of the most respected dealers in Oriental art during the 20th century.

Another lot with an interesting provenance is a pair of 18th-century panels made up of carved ivory, gilt bronze, cloisonn and hard stones. The panels depict figures, pagodas and trees with mountainous landscapes behind, one shows Shoulao, the God of longevity, the other shows Xi Wangmu, the Queen Mother of the West, being drawn across the sky in her chariot. The panels are of fine, possibly Imperial, quality and interestingly the Gods depicted were both Gods of longevity. Again, provenance will have its part to play as one of the panels bears a small label which states that the panels were the property of Ranee Margaret of Sarawak.

Lady Margaret Brooke, the Ranee of Sarawak, was the wife of Charles Brooke, 2nd Rajah of Sarawak. The Brooke family ruled Sarawak from the 1840s until 1946 when they ceded control to the British Empire. The first White Rajah, James Brooke, came to power after helping the Sultan of Brunei to quell an uprising. He had no children and his nephew Charles Brooke succeeded him. Charles consolidated their rule and continued the work of suppressing piracy and head-hunting. The quality and detail of these panels combined with the subject matter and provenance should ensure that they achieve their pre-sale estimate of 150,000-200,000.

Chorleys sale will be eagerly anticipated by buyers of Oriental art and also includes some more affordable items such as a Kangxi period box decorated with fish and seashells on a green ground, estimated at 700-900.

The Japanese market has been underperforming in recent years and it is possible to pick up good quality items for reasonable prices. The sale will include Japanese imari wares as well as some Meiji period carved ivory Okimono. Depicting figures and figure groups these range in estimate from 200-800.

If you would like any further information about the sale or have items you would like valued please contact Thomas Jenner-Fust on 01452 344499 or

VIEWING DAYS are Tuesday, May 17, 9am-7pm, Wednesday, May 18, 9am-5pm and Thursday, May 19, 8.30am-10.30am.

Chorleys, Prinknash Abbey Park, GL4 8EX, tel: 01452 344499,


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