Chinese Buddhist Frescos And Modern Paintings Highlight Gianguan Auctions’ December 9 Sale

As China’s renaissance continues to be felt around the world, Gianguan Auctions brings storied items that reflect the country’s rich heritage to the podium on December 9. The collections of Buddhist art, Chinese ceramics and seals are primarily by anonymous and court artisans. The modern paintings and Zisha teapots are by sought after artists and potters, complete with signatures and seals.

Chinese Buddhist art, a favorite of collectors since the days of Charles Lang Freer, founder of the Freer Museum of Art in Washington, DC, plays a significant role in the auction. The lead item is a Song Dynasty fresco depicting Water-Moon Guanyin, or Avalokiteshvara of the Southern Seas. She is beautifully robed, an allusion to the bodhisattva’s mortal ties. Seated on rockery, wearing an elaborate headdress with gilt highlights, and backed by a double mandorla, the painter’s craft is still evident in the remaining mineral pigment. The garments bear traces of thread relief. The framed frescoe is 4 feet tall. It is suitable for a religious institution or a private collector. A similar Ming Dynasty fresco can be seen at The Fahai Temple located at the foot of Cuiwei Mount. This is Lot 38, valued at more than $40,000.

The marquee ceramics offering is a copper-red underglaze Buddhist prayer bowl. Its interior is dominated by a large Lanca character set in an overall pattern of script. Of the Ming dynasty, with the Xuande six-character double circled mark, the bowl is 7-inches in diameter and just 3-inches tall. It is Lot 109, worthy of a pre-sale estimate upwards of $150,000.

A pair of marble stela are dramatically carved with guardians clenching clubs and trampling beastly demons. At 22.5-inches tall and 12-inches wide, the Yuan Dynasty carvings are Lot 75, estimated at more than $6,000.

Additionally, Gianguan has gathered an excellent collection of moderately valued modern and contemporary paintings for this sale. Twentieth Century master Xu Beihong (1895-1953), one of the first to reflect a renewed China in his works of animals, is represented by “Two Racing Stallions.” The 1942 work is probably a metaphor for the competitiveness of nations. It is signed and bears one artist seal. It is Lot 70 valued at upwards of $40,000.

Yu Feian’s “Spring Budding” offers hope with a realistic portrayal of daffodils,…

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