Highlights from Rosebery’s highly anticipated Asian auction

21/04/2020     News Stories & Press Release, Chinese, Japanese & South East Asian Art

LONDON: Rosebery’s highly anticipated Chinese, Japanese & South East Asian Art sale is punctuated by a number of private collections from London, the most noteworthy being the collection formed by Jonas and Gabita Gadelius.  Some of the objects in the collection are furnished with impeccable provenance in the form of paper labels for dealerships such as Bluett and Vanderven Oriental Art.  Considering the ever-selective Chinese art market, the provenance and rarity of the pieces in this collection will ensure the appetites of collectors and galleries from across the world are appropriately satiated.

pink vase

Undoubtedly, the sale is led by a wonderful pair of 18th century imperially inscribed porcelain wall vases (est. £20,000-£30,000), with marks for Emperor Qianlong.  During the reign of the Qianlong emperor (1735-1796) many advances in the decorative arts were made, and the period saw many new innovations in the field of ceramics. One of these new shapes was the sedan vase, which was first created in 1742 after Tang Ying (1682-1756), the imperial kiln superintendent, received instructions from the emperor to make a hanging vase suitable for a sedan chair. These vases were often hung in pairs and filled with fresh flowers, providing the occupant of the sedan with something to admire and study whilst travelling, as well as creating a welcome distraction from the smell outside. The emperor even wrote a poem about this pleasant effect, composed in 1742 and included in the Qianlong yuzhi shiji (Imperial Compositions of Qianlong), which described how the fragrance of the flowers could be enjoyed, whilst the ‘red dust’ from the outside could not reach him.


liberation cup

Also estimated at £20,000-£30,000 is a Chinese rhinoceros horn libation cup, 17th century, pictured to the left. Carved into the libation cup are a number of chrysanthemums.  The Chinese word for chrysanthemum is similar to the Chinese word 'ju' which means to remain, and 'jiu', which means 'long time'.  The chrysanthemum, as suggested by this homophone, symbolises long life.  An appropriate motif to carve on a rhinoceros libation cup, bestowing sentiments of long life upon whoever receives the cup. The inclusion of the cricket on the body of the cup is a metaphor for a scholar who wishes to move quickly to a high rank, and therefore the utilisation of this rebus on the libation cup expresses wishes of success for the scholar who is in possession of it. Traditionally these were gifted to successful scholars upon passing their exams.  A comparable 18th century example was offered at Bonhams London, Fine Chinese Art sale in 2015.  

Doucai Lotus Bowl

Another lot which also inherits fascinating symbolism within the auction is a fine doucai ‘lotus pond’ marriage bowl, Jiaqing mark and period. The depictions of ducks like the ones found on the marriage bowl can also be found on works dating back to the Han dynasty, and the motif of ducks in a lotus pond as early as the Tang dynasty. With the development of the doucai technique during the Xuande period, the popularity of the motif continued through the Ming and Qing dynasties. Comparable Daoguang-period bowls have been sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong. Similar examples can also be found at the National Palace Museum, Taiwan, Special Exhibition of Ch’eng-hua Porcelain, 1976. Rosebery’s doucai marriage bowl has been estimated to sell for £30,000-£50,000.

Bat Dragon Dish


A  rarity on offer is a Chinese painted enamel 'dragon and bats' dish, Qianlong period, decorated to the central reserve with a forward-facing dragon amidst clouds and flames within a key-fret border beneath a band of flowering lotus scrolls and five bats, wufu, on a yellow ground, the underside painted with three dragons on a yellow ground, the base decorated with a blue phoenix roundel. Similar examples exist in the British Museum and have sold at Christies and Sothebys. Rosebery’s dish has been estimated to sell for £10,000 – 15,000.


Double lonzenge box

A rare carved cinnabar lacquer four-tier double-lozenge box and cover, Qianlong period will also be offered in the upcoming sale estimated at  £25,000-£35,000. The cover meticulously carved with two five-clawed writhing dragons in pursuit of a flaming pearl in the form of a stylised shou character, against a ground of swirling waves, all within key-fret borders, the straight sides of the boxes and cover decorated with six cartouches enclosing various antiques and scholar's objects, divided by leafy blooming lotus, the interior and base covered with black lacquer, with a cinnabar lacquer stand supported on six ruyi-shaped feet. The double-lozenge, also known as fang sheng 方勝, is one of the Eight Treasures, babao 八寶, which was a much favoured motif used in decorations during the Ming and Qing dynasties.


Brush Pot


To round up the highlights included in the sale is this  rare Chinese carved chenxiangmu (aloeswood) brush pot, 17th century. Estimated to sell £6000-£8000, this lot’s provenance hails from the private West Country collection, inherited from the Grandparents of the present owner in the 1960s.




In accordance with current government guidelines, Roseberys remain closed to the public and have taken the decision to postpone the Chinese, Japanese & South East Asian Art sale, originally scheduled for the 19th May.
This will be a great disappointment to many, but we feel that we must be able to conduct the sale in the very best possible environment for all involved, and that will be when we can enable the handling of objects without risking the health of our clients and staff, to ensure maximum exposure of every single object offered in the sale.
We will continue to pay close attention to government and WHO advice and will advise you of a new date in due course. 
We are grateful for your understanding and support as we take measures to continue to ensure the health and well-being of our staff and clients and look forward to welcoming you back to Roseberys in the near future.

For further information please contact Bill Forrest : billforrest@roseberys.co.uk 



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