Asian Art - Of Procelain and War Art

With almost 900 objects, the two-day Asian Auction on 24th/25th June spans a broad arc between continents and centuries. Special highlights include Chinese monochrome porcelains and Japanese swords.

The first day is dedicated to Indian, Tibetan and Chinese art, amongst others, kicked off by a fine Pakistan Buddha Shakyamuni carved from grey schist in Gandhara in the 2nd/3rd century. The delicately worked sculpture is from a Belgian private collection (lot 1, € 20/30,000).

One highlight of the Tibetan art takes the form of a rare set of six thangka with depictions of the First Panchen Lama and his earlier incarnations (18th/19th century, lot 76, € 30/50,000). In terms of iconography, the six thangka follow the famous series of 13 block prints from the mid-18th century from the Narthang Monastery near Shigatse. The set offered here probably belonged to a larger series of 13 thangka.


An impressive, classical, gilt bronze figure of Buddha Shakyamuni from the 17th/18th century has been consigned from a South American private collection (lot 101, € 30/40,000). A finely worked pair of 18th/19th centurychairsmade from the coveted huanghuali wood is the top lot amongst the Chinese furniture (lot 115, € 20/30,000), whilst a Hessian private collection offers a selection of small furniture pieces and table objects (lots 116 - 118, estimates from € 6,000 to 20,000), acquired in the 1990s from renowned art dealers such as Grace Wu Bruce in Hong Kong or Sydney L. Moss in London.

A further focus of the auction is the wide range of colours and shapes of the monochrome porcelains including a yuhuchun ping type vase with copper-red jihong glaze from the 18th century, from a German private collection and acquired from China-Bohlken in Westerland in 1966 (lot 140, € 15/20,000). For collectors of the so-called blanc de Chine porcelains, the figure of a standing Guanyin from Viennese private ownership should be of interest (19th century, lot 144, € 10/15,000).

On 15th July, Lempertz in Cologne will auction the Bernard Deleye collection. This highly important collection also includes blanc de Chine porcelains alongside European decorative arts - Lempertz has dedicated a glittering special catalogue to this exceptional special auction.

Whilst Lempertz has in the past been able to offer high results in the field of classical Chinese painting, this auction focuses mainly on contemporary art. The reason for this is the auction of a portion of the Ilse Lommel collection. She opened her gallery in 1989 under the name Galerie Lommel, Asiatische Kunst der Gegenwart in Leverkusen. Herself a collector focusing on contemporary Chinese ink painting, she was one of the first European tourists to travel to China and visited the artists personally in their studios and homes, acquiring unusual works from then unknown, but now established artists such as Xue Song, Chen Jialing, Gu Gan, Jin Weihong or Qiu Deshu (lots 164 – 168 and 300 – 310, up to € 10,000).


With more than 40 lots, the woodcuts lead the second day of the auction devoted entirely to the art of Japan. One highlight of the offer is an oban by Hokusai from a Cologne private collection featuring a rare depiction of a picnic at the so-called Cushion Pine at Aoyama from the series of the 36 Views of Fuji (around 1830/1831, lot 405, € 10/12,000).

Following the successful sale of the large selection of armour in the auction last December 2020, Lempertz was again able to acquire numerous suits of armour for this season and further expand the segment of Samurai art. A total of 30 lots of armour and helmets will be offered for sale (lots 553 – 586, up to € 30,000), as well as over 70 swords and lances, a range probably unique in Europe. They are all from private collections and are rounded off with an equally impressive selection of tsuba (lots 587 – 749, up to € 20,000).

In line with tradition, the auction culminates with the netsuke. In addition to a few single consignments from private collections, the offer is dominated by the estate of the Frankfurt art dealer Günther Kauth. This includes an ivory shishi, the provenance of which is closely linked to German auction history – it can be traced back to the collection of the Leipzig publisher Albert Brockhaus (1855 – 1921) and from 1908 found its way via London and Hannover to Cologne, to the rooms in which it has once before been auctioned in 2006 (18th century, lot 828, € 3/3,500). The 100-strong offer can confidently be described as market-fresh (los 791 – 892, estimates € 300 – 4,000).

Edgar Abs, Press – and Public Relations

Cologne, June 2021