Eye on Auctions

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Asian Week Wonders

By Caroline Birenbaum

New York auction houses present an astounding variety of top-quality items from India, Tibet, Japan and China during mid-March "Asia Week." From archaic bronze vessels to modern Indian paintings, there is much to see in the preview exhibitions that begin March 15. Check the websites for details, blogs and videos, related events, and to browse online catalogues.

Doyle (doylenewyork.com)

The March 18 Asian Works of Art sale includes a complete set of 10 hanging scrolls of the "Paradise of the Immortals in a Pavilion Landscape," many examples of Chinese blue and white porcelain from a private collection and a massive display cabinet.

Bonhams (bonhams.com)

Many sculptures, some charming decorative objects, illustrated manuscript pages, a Tibetan mandala, and modern watercolors are found in the March 18 auction of Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art. A very large sale of Fine Japanese Works of Art on March 19 begins with woodblock prints, including a lovely "Woman Combing her Hair" by Hashiguchi Goyo from 1920 that blends traditional Asian and western sensibilities, and includes are Edo period armor, wonderful netsuke, lacquer objects, and cloissoné enamel vases from top 19th-century studios. A very small sale on March 20, The Xi'an Incident: Papers of Hyland 'Bud' Lyon, offers historic documents obtained by an American aviation mechanic when he worked for one of Chiang Kai-Shek's generals, Zhang Xuelang, who cooperated with the Communists to save China from the Japanese. The featured item is a 3-page (1936?) letter from Mao Zedong and Peng Dehuai to Zhang. Immediately following on March 20, are over 100 examples of Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy ranging from the 14th- to the late 20th- century.

Sotheby's (sothebys.com)

A spectacular four-session auction of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art from private collections on March 19 and 20 features archaic bronze wine vessels, an imperial green jade seal, Northern Song dynasty white "Ding" dishes, exquisite blue and white ware, and a celadon-glazed six-necked vase. An evening session on March 19 is devoted to The Amaya Collection of Modern and Contemporary Indian Art. Highlights of the Indian and Southeast Asian Works of Art on March 20 include two important 16th-century Tibetan thangka paintings, a black stone Vaishnavite stele, and Indian folk bronzes from Collection of Leo Figiel, MD. Fine Classical Chinese Paintings bring the week to a close on March 21.

Christie's (christies.com)

The March 19 auction of Indian and Southeast Asian Art comprises several distinguished private collections. The afternoon session contains a mini-sale, Masterpieces of Early Tibetan Painting from the Collection of Heidi and Helmut Neumann, a group of exquisite, complex paintings from the 12th-14th centuries acquired over the past five decades, whose separate catalogue with detailed iconographic explanations is a keeper. March 20 starts off with South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art consisting mostly of Indian and Pakistani paintings and drawings. The same day, a blockbuster sale of Japanese and Korean Art offers Japanese prints, paintings, and screens, wonderful lacquer objects, furniture, Samurai swords and armor, fabulous Meiji period bronzes such as a monumental incense burner with a life-sized figure and a signed mixed-metal hanging vase in the form of a gourd entwined with a leafy vine, and woodblock prints sold to benefit the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and concludes with 18th-century Korean ceramics and contemporary paintings. Three specialized collections will be sold on March 21.

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