Know your tobacco: Chinese snuffboxes are among the highlights of Asia Week New York

In the auction, art and antiques calendar March in the Big Apple is a month when the spotlight is traditionally on Asian art.

It’s the time of year when major international companies hold the first of their series of semi-annual Asian auctions in New York and, since 2009, it’s the time when specialist dealers in this field collectively hold a series of selling exhibits in Manhattan galleries. .

Everything falls under the aegis of Asia Week in New York (DAWN), an annual celebration of Asian art encompassing auctions and dealer shows alongside museum exhibits.

For this year DAWN, from March 16 to 25, six auction companies are participating: Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams, Doyle, Heritage and iGavel. There are 26 participating dealers, with more in-person attendance than last year when covid meant many dealers opted for a virtual presence.

Over the next five pages we give a taste of what will be on offer in auction rooms and dealer galleries and as always much more information can be found on the DAWN website.



Heritage highlights include this pair of carved zitan lanterns from the 18th century Chinese imperial Qing dynasty measuring 66 x 35 cm (2 ft 2 in x 13 ¾ in). They come from a private collection in New York and are estimated at $50,000 to $70,000.

Image: Heritage Auctions (

Heritage is hosting an Asian Art auction in Dallas on March 22 and will preview highlights from the sale in New York City March 16-21.



One of the highlights of Doyle’s March 21 auction will be this large 19½-inch (49.5 cm) celadon dragon charger with a Yongzheng and period seal mark. The central medallion features a dragon among clouds while the underside is molded with overlapping lotus petals. The charger, which comes with a labeled Japanese wooden collector’s box, comes from the collection of an American civilian educational coordinator stationed in Japan, 1948-51, then by descent. The estimate is $80,000-120,000.

Doyle is hosting a live auction of Asian Art in New York on March 21 as well as a timed auction titled Asian Art: Session II that will end on March 25.


A huanghuali trestle table

One of the highlights of Christie’s Chinese Ceramics and Artwork sale from March 24-25 is this 17th-century huanghuali trestle table. It has a single plank top measuring 10 feet 2 inches (3.1 m) set on beaded aprons and spandrels carved with elephant heads, and is raised on legs with splayed legs connected by an openwork panel carved with chilong. The estimate is $800,000 to $1.2 million.

Image: Christie’s Images 2022

Christie’s auction calendar for Asia Week in New York includes a mix of direct and online sales, various owners and sole proprietors in a wide range of Asian, vintage and contemporary art categories.

Offered in two sessions – one online March 15-29, the other live March 24 – will be Rivers and Mountains Far from the World: Important Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Rachelle R Holden Collection.

The sales take their title from the scholarly catalog published in 1994 by the late collector who bought her first snuffbox in 1974. The two sales between them offer more than 220 bottles in various materials: glass, porcelain, hard stones and enamelled metal.

One of the highlights of the collection is a Qianlong brand famille rose enameled glass bottle from the time of the Imperial Palace workshops, estimated at $400,000 to $600,000.

Christie’s Japanese and Korean Art auction on March 22 will feature 20 lots of Buddhist paintings from the collection of David and Nayda Utterberg, while the South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art sale on March 23 will feature works from the collection of Mahinder and Sharad Tak, long-time patrons of the arts.

Works offered in this latter collection include paintings by Bhupen Khakhar, Manjit Bawa, Arpita Singh and Sayed Haider Raza as well as works by Maqbool Fida Husain, Rameshwar Broota, Jogen Chowdhury and Jagdish Swaminathan, all close friends of the collectors.


Bonhams’ auction program for Asia Week in New York includes live and online-only sales of Chinese artwork, including the Richard Milhender Export Furniture Collection; Japanese and Korean art; a sole proprietor sale of Chinese paintings and calligraphy; Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian art and Burmese silverware.

Goddess Tara

A 13th-century Nepalese gilt copper figure of the goddess Tara to be donated by Bonhams on March 22, estimated at $500,000-700,000.

The auction house’s flagship lot is a gilt copper alloy figure of the Buddhist savior goddess Tara of Nepal from the early Malla period (13th century) that will feature in the March 22 sale of Indian art, Himalayan and Southeast Asian.

The figure comes from the collection of Michael Henss, a famous scholar of Himalayan art, and retains remnants of cold gold and blue pigment on the face and hair indicating his earlier worship in Tibet. The estimate is $500,000 to $700,000.

Photo of a woman holding a flower

Woman Holding a Flower, a 1948 1.3 m x 69 cm (4 ft 3½ in x 2 ft 3 in) hanging scroll by Zhang Daqian (1899-1983), one of the highlights of the collection of paintings and Chinese calligraphy by Reverend Richard Fabian donated by Bonhams on March 21. He has an estimate of $800,000 to $1.2 million.

On March 21, Bonhams will offer the fourth installment of paintings and calligraphic works from the collection of the Reverend Richard Fabian. Founder and rector of St Gregory Nyssen Episcopal Ecumenical Church in San Francisco, he first discovered Chinese painting while majoring in Chinese art at Yale University in the 1960s and spent more than three decades to build up a panoramic collection covering the 200 years of development of modern Chinese painting. Part 5 of the Fabian Collection will go on sale online March 14-24.

Burmese silver betel box

Burmese silver betel box decorated with Buddhist scenes from the Sama Jataka dated 1909, estimated at $40,000-60,000 in Bonhams’ Noble Silver Collection online sale.

Bonhams’ online component Asia Week the sales also include the March 14-24 sale of the Noble Silver Collection: Treasures from Burma’s Silver Age – works produced by Burmese master silversmiths between the mid-19th and early 20th centuries.

Burmese silver largely catered to a domestic market producing items designed for traditional Southeast Asian customs such as betel cultivation and temple offerings, including a dated silver betel box of 1909 from Lower Burma (Myanmar).


Archaic bronze ritual vessel

Another highlight of Sotheby’s March 22 sale of works from the Dr Wou Kiuan collection is this archaic bronze ritual vase (fangyi) from the late Shang dynasty, Anyang, 12th century BC. The shape and design represent Chinese bronze art at its height when the Anyang style had reached its mature stage. Only a small number of fangyi with related decoration have been recorded with others in institutions such as the Shanghai Museum and the British Museum. The estimate is $400,000 to $600,000.

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s Asia Week The auctions will include the first of a series of four sole proprietor sales of the Dr Wou Kiuan collection that will take place around the world until 2022.

It covers 4,000 years of Chinese culture and art history with over 1,000 works including pottery, porcelain, jades, bronzes, paintings and calligraphy, and is estimated to be over 40 millions of dollars.

Wou Kiuan, the son of Wou Lien-Pai, a prominent politician who was instrumental in reforming China during the Republic era, moved to London after his retirement, devoting his time to the study of Chinese archeology and art. From the mid-1950s to the 1960s, he built up a collection representing all categories of Chinese art. In 1968, he established a private gallery in his home titled the Wou Lien Pai Museum in honor of his father.

Cinnabar lacquer dish

A 14th-century cinnabar lacquer dish carved with hisbiscus flowers that will feature in the March 22 Sotheby’s sale of Works from the Dr Wou Kiuan Collection, Part I. The depiction of the flowers includes a naturalistic detail rarely captured in renderings artistic design: the three flowers show a tiny five-pointed floret protruding from the ends of the petals representing the stigma. The estimate is $100,000 to $150,000.

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s

This first sale of the collection takes place in New York on March 22 under the title A Journey through China’s History: The Dr Wou Kiuan Collection Part I.

Highlights include the 14th-century carved cinnabar lacquer “hibiscus” dish shown here. Dating to the peak period of Chinese lacquer craftsmanship, the late Yuan/early Ming dynasty, its decoration is unusual in that it is limited to three flowers among the foliage, a design more commonly seen on paintings. much smaller parts.

Sotheby’s Asia Week The program also includes a live auction of modern and contemporary South Asian art on March 21 and an online auction, China/5000 years, from March 16 to 29.

Comments are closed.