Sotheby’s is delighted to announce their autumn sales series taking place on 9 November during the annual Asian Art event in London.
London sales of Chinese Art feature fine imperial ceramics, gilt-bronze figures, paintings and expertly crafted works of art. The series also includes a group of exquisite fine jades the distinguished Thompson-Schwab Collection and an extremely rare Imperial matchlock musket, the Supreme Number One.
SUPREME NUMBER ONE/ A SUPERB IMPERIAL MATCHLOCK MUSKET
This rare and exquisitely produced musket is the first Chinese firearm with an imperial reign mark to be offered at auction. It is also inscribed with a mark ‘Supreme Grade, Number One’, to assert its status as one of the first and most important firearms produced for the Qianlong Emperor and display his power as the ‘Son of Heaven’.
estimated prise: £1,000,000 — 1,500,000
the gently curved stock and forestock worked from deeply figured elm wood, the cast-iron barrel finely inlaid with stylised foliage in gold, silver and copper, terminating in a separately-cast-iron muzzle, widening towards its end and inlaid in gold with archaic leaf-shaped panels, between thin bands of keyfret, the upper surface of the barrel inlaid in gold with a six-character Qianlong mark within a rounded oblong panel, with an inscription behind the breech, te deng di yi (Supreme Grade Number One), all supported on a zitan bipod stand, terminating in two cast-iron-mounted horn-shaped feet, inlaid in gold with leaf-shaped panels, above ruyi and scrolling foliage, between thin panels of keyfret
176.5 cm, 69 1/2 in.
AN EXTREMELY RARE IMPERIAL PARCEL-GILT IRON HELMET/QING DYNASTY, QIANLONG PERIOD
estimated prise: £50,000 — 70,000
thinly cast in iron in a dome shape, the exterior decorated in gilt with a frieze of Sanskrit characters written with raised beaded edges, interrupted by interlinked ferocious animal masks in low relief suspending beaded jewels, all between two bands of further Sanskrit characters, and evenly divided by two vertical flanges detailed with stylised parcel-gilt dragons, attached around the base with three flaps of silk cloth lined with steel plates, the front securing a lobed brim inlaid with further pairs of confronting dragons, surmounted by a tapered finial adorned with upright lappets once securing a tall finial (now missing), the iron surface oxidised to dark brown 25 cm, 9 3/4 in.
AN IMPERIAL PALE CELADON JADE ‘ZIQIANG BUXI’ SEAL/QING DYNASTY, QIANLONG PERIOD
estimated prise: £500,000 — 700,000
of square form, surmounted with a ferocious dragon with bulging eyes and flaring nostrils above long curling whiskers, the body, detailed with scales and flowing mane, tightly coiled and crouching on its haunches, with a ‘flaming pearl’ below its jaws, surrounded by dense cloud scrolls, the seal face deeply and crisply carved with the characters Ziqiang buxi (‘[The gentleman] never ceases to improve himself’), the translucent stone of an even pale celadon tone with areas of small brown mottling to the reverse 4.9 by 4.9 by 6.5 cm., 1 7/8 by 1 7/8 by 2 5/8 in.
AN IMPORTANT AND RARE WINE VESSEL, ZUN/EARLY WESTERN ZHOU DYNASTY
estimated prise: £120,000 — 150,000
the cylindrical body rising from a spreading foot to a flared rim, the raised mid section finely cast with twotaotie on a leiwen ground above two further smaller taotie at the foot, divided with four sets of vertical flanges, the surface with a mottled green patina and some malachite encrustation, the interior of the foot with a bold inscription reading Zheng Zhong Zu Yi (Grandfather Yi of the Zheng Zhong clan)
27.8 cm, 11 in.
AN EXQUISITE AND RARE ‘JIAN’ ‘HARE’S FUR’ ‘TENMOKU’ BOWL/SOUTHERN SONG DYNASTY
estimated prise: £300,000 — 400,000
of deep conical form with a groove below the lip and a shallow straight foot, covered in a thick black lustrous glaze, the interior with silver to pale brown striations terminating in blue dots at the base, the exterior with brown striations at the rim terminating in silvery-blue striations where the glaze pools short of the unglazed foot revealing the dark brown body underneath; accompanied by a 15th/16th century Ryukyu mother-of-pearl inlaid lacquer stand with a geometric design, the underside with a continuous chrysanthemum scroll, the bowl and stand with gold, green, blue and white brocade pouches in a ribbon-tied paulownia-wood box and cover and ribbon-tied black lacquer outer box Quantity: 3 12.2 cm, 4 7/8 in.
A LARGE SANCAI-GLAZED POTTERY FIGURE OF A HORSE/TANG DYNASTY
estimated prise: £100,000 — 150,000
well-moulded, standing foursquare with head turned slightly to the left, the head well-articulated with ears pricked, eyes bulging and nostrils flared, the arching neck with cream-glazed mane, a bright green-glazed saddlecloth draped over the high ridged saddle and gathered in pleats to either side, all over a cream and amber-glazed saddle blanket, the body covered with a rich mottled amber glaze with green-glazed hooves, wood stand, Japanese wood box Quantity: 3 57.5 cm, 22 1/2 in.