Asian Art - Important Collections

The highlight of the two-day Asian Art Auctions on 3 and 5 June is the private Berlin collection of modern Chinese painting. Presented in a special catalogue, an extra press release will follow. The successful history of the Kolodotschko collection of netsuke will be continued with Part III with around 300 pieces – also again in their own separate catalogue.

Impressive Chinese works of art stand out in the regular catalogue, such as a jade tablescreen for 50/70.000, a rhinoceros horn libation cup for 40/50.000, a famille rose vase (65/75.000), and a painting by Tan Swie Hian, the most expensive object in the auction, at 300/350.000.

A torso of a Cambodian deity (30/40.000) and porcelain from the Wollheim collection are further highlights of the auction.


The regular offering of Chinese painting is led by the top lot of the auction, a 180 x 97 cm hanging scroll with a portrait of the buddhist Zen master Xu Yun, by Tan Swie Hian, with an estimate of 300/35.000 (lot 240). Tan Swie Hian (Chinese Chen Ruixian), was born in 1943 in Indonesia and emmigrated to Singpore in 1946, and belongs to the most renowned artists of Singapore, gaining prominance not just as a painter, but also as calligrapher, sculptor and writer. In 1993 a museum dedicated to this artist was erected in Singapore, and is considered the most expensive living artist in that country. In his art Tan combines elements of the Chinese, Indian and South East Asian cultures with those of the Western world. The portrait offered in the auction joins a series of portraits of famous people such as Qi Baishi, Gandhi and the Japanese Zen poet and monk Ryôkan. Works by Tan Swie Hian have featured in solo exhibitions in Paris, Geneva and Seoul and group exhibitions in various cities such Washington and Hong Kong.

A hanging scroll by Tang Yin depicting the demon catcher Zhong Kui is estimated at 35/35.000 (lot 201). Four oval ship scenes on the Yuejiang at Canton from around 1840 – 1880 and attributed to Youqua are at 25/30.000 (lot 223), and a hanging scroll of a horse by Xu Beihong, 1895-1953) has an estimate of 20/25.000 (lot 227).

A jade table screen from an English private collection is one of the highlights of the Chinese art. The rectangular plaque is worked in layered relief and stands in a wooden stand finely carved with archaic dragons (lot 315, 50/70.000). A 110.5 x 185 cm lacquer wall panel from the 18th/19th century lies at 60/80.000. The very rare panel served originally as decoration in an elegant living room (lot 359). A 17th/18th century, 15.4 cm rhinoceros horn cup is strongly carved with the 'One Hundred Children' at various games and playing music in a landscape. This rare depiction is estimated at 40/50.000 (lot 367). A lidded blue transparent glass bowl with a Yongzheng mark and probably of the period is also up for auction (lot 364).

A famille rose vase of the Jiaqing period (1796 – 1820) with a six character seal mark Jiaqing and of the period is a further top lot of the auction. The pear-shaped vase has a long, cylindrical neck and is decorated in the colours of the famille rose with flowering tendrils and lotus flowers beneath stylised shou symbols and bats, all on a pink ground (lot 109, 65/75.000). Another baluster-shaped famille rose vase of the Qianlong period (1735 – 1796) with a six character seal mark Qianlong and possibly of the period is decorated with a pink bow on the shoulder (lot 112, 35/40.000). A lot of interest and potential for growth is expected for a conservatively estimated gui-type food vessel in the style of the early Western Zhou dynasty (lot 251, 5/7.000).

The private cellection of Senta Wollheim, compiled in the 1960s, 70s and early 80s includes a Fahua vase from the Ming period, seladon dishes of the same period and the top lot in the form of a yellow-glazed plate (1506 – 1521), with a six character mark Zhengde and of the period, and with a diameter of 20.8 cm (lot 144, 25/35.000).

The Indian section is led by a large atone stele of Surya from Northearster India. From the 12th century and of the Pala dynasty, it has an estimate of 25/35.000 (lot 502). Also from the 12th centtury is a 88.5 cm high Cambodian torso of a male deity in the Angkor Vat style (lot 554, 30/40.000).


Amongst the woodcut prints we find an album with 54 ôgan, the complete series Tôkaido gojûsan no tsugi no uchi from Utagawe Hiroshige (lot 632, 8/10.000). An eight-sheet work from Utagawe Kunisada is estimated at 10/15.000 (lot 681). Highlight of the swords is an extremely long (211 cm) and rare nagamaki from the 16th century (lot 1421, 17/18.000). One 16th century katana with 19th century koshirae is valued at 10/15.000 (lot 1419), whilst an 18th/19th century red lacquer suit of armour is at 6/8.000 (lot 1416). As usual, numerous and varied netsuke and okimono also feature.