Highlights from private collections

Many of the highlights in this season's auction originate from important German private collections. For example a German collection of 21 Chinese ceramic works and several decorative arts pieces with estimates up to € 250,000, a Rhenish private collection of over 40 cloissonné enamel works priced up to € 80,000, and a rare Buddha Shakyamuni priced at € 200,000 – 250,000 from a further Rhenish private collection ...

One of the highlights of the auction is the rare large fire-gilt bronze figure of Buddha Shakyamuni. The 50 cm high bronze figure was made in the 17th century during the late Ming Dynasty. It originates from the private collection of a Lower Rhenish industrialist who, throughout the 1920s and 1930s, amassed a large collection of European prints, drawings, paintings, and porcelain, but also – as was fashionable at the time – a lot of East Asian art. Most of the pieces were purchased in the Rhineland, many of them from Walter Bornheim or from Lempertz in Cologne. The collection was partially dispersed by his widow following the collector's death, and part was inherited by his sons. This impressive figure of Buddha originates from the estate of one of his grandchildren. It was purchased from Lempertz on 11th/12th December 1931. The unusual statue is valued in this auction at € 200,000 – 250,000 (lot 694).

Also featured in this sale is an important German collection of 21 works in ceramics as well as decorative arts pieces, including a very rare and finely wrought Ge ware plate from the Southern Song/Yuan Dynasty (1127 – 1368). The crackle glazed stoneware of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 – 1279) has been surrounded by an aura of mystery throughout the centuries, with connoisseurs of Yuan and Ming Dynasty pieces have praised its beauty and elegance in poetry and prose. The plate coming up for sale in this auction is without doubt one of the rarest items of Chinese stoneware ever to have been collected in Germany. It displays characteristics of both Guan and Ge wares, and depending on the observer's standpoint has been attributed to one kiln or the other. However, due to its similarity in form and glaze to comparison pieces in the latest exhibition of Ge ware in the Palace Museum it is highly probable that the piece can be attributed to the Ge kilns of the Southern Song or Yuan Dynasty. The piece, purchased on the European market in the 1920s/30s, measures 13 cm in diameter and is estimated at € 200,000 – 250,000 (lot 867).

The sale also includes a further Rhenish private collection with over 40 pieces in cloisonné enamel at valuations between € 400 and € 80,000. The most important work on offer is a 43 cm large Imperial cloisonné alms bowl with a four-character Qianlong mark of the period (1736 – 1795). Bowls like this are very rare, but to find one of this size is exceptionally unusual. It is thought to either have been made for Buddhist ceremonies performed at the Imperial court in Peking or Rehol, or to have been commissioned as a gift for a temple upon which the Emperor wished to bestow special favour. The piece is estimated at € 60,000 – 80,000 (lot 787).

Alongside the regular offerings of Japanese decorative arts, ceramics, porcelain, painting, armour, swords and sword ornaments, lacquer, sagemono, and netsuke, this season's auction will also feature two important private collections. One being the second half of the Papp Collection of Netsuke, and the other being a Rhenish private collection of netsuke, inrô, and sagemono.

The recond part of the Papp collection of 18th and 19th century netsuke, which was assembled over several generations, will once again be presented in a special catalogue like the first part of the collection sold with considerable success this spring. The over 180 pieces bear estimates between € 300 and € 5,000. One of the most important works is a finely carved figure of a standing Kan'u, signed Minkoku and valued at € 3,000 – 4,000 (lot 264).

A further highlight is the large and remarkable Rhenish collection of over 140 items of Japanese art from the 18th - 20th century, including 75 inrô and 65 netsuke and sagemono, which will also be presented in its own special catalogue. The pieces are valued between € 50 and € 4,500, with one of the top lots in the collection being a 5-piece inrô from the first half of the 19th century signed Toshihide and with a red “to” seal (lot 544, € 4,000 – 4,800).