Rarity Rules at Asian Art Auction: Two-volume Tome Garners $137,500

BOSTON, MA – March 31, 2021. The Skinner March Asian Works of Arts auction offered various pan-Asian material ranging from Chinese ceramics and Japanese prints to a textile from Turkey and a stone funerary stele from Egypt. Fierce bidding that took place online in the last hours of the sale resulted in an exciting climax with many pieces selling for more than their estimated value.

One of only one hundred copies in the world, a near-pristine copy of Heber Bishop’s Investigations in Jade brought $137,500, including buyer’s premium. The volumes, which combine stunning watercolor paintings with plentiful lithographs and etched illustrations, were gifted to institutions and heads of state across the globe, where many of them have remained— and very rare to find at auction.


Bishop, Heber Reginald (1840-1902), The Bishop Collection: Investigations and Studies in Jade.
Sold for $137,500.

For the second Asian sale in a row, Skinner auctioned an incredibly significant piece of Korean art, a silver-inlaid bronze sundial: among a handful of Korean bronze sundials extant in the world. Suhyung Kim, Department Director pro tem, remarks: “before the discovery of this piece, a sundial with a tripod base had not yet been reported, making it a unique find.” With a distinguished provenance, it had been in the Wuppertal Clock Museum collection in Germany until the previous decade when it was acquired by the present owner.

Silver-inlaid Bronze Sundial, Angbu Ilgu, Korea, 19th century. Sold for $118,750

Chinese ceramics also achieved excellent prices, with a group of ten pieces collectively bringing $90,000 (Lots 1091, 1047, 1023, 1096, 1060, 1092, 1009, 1076, 1072, 1028). In various glazes ranging from clair-de-lune to famille rose, robin’s egg blue, turquoise blue, blue and white, and crackle glazed, they exemplified the beauty and diversity of Chinese ceramic production.

A robe consigned by a local family and a group of fine textiles deaccessioned from a museum helped to result in a 100% sell-through rate for the category of Asian textiles in the sale. The rarity of a pre-1923 Kanto earthquake woodblock print by Kawase Hasui overcame minor condition issues, which did not deter print experts from bidding competitively, selling for $13,750 .

Embroidered Semiformal Robe, China, late 19th century.
Sold for $13,750

Paintings by Luis Chan (Lots 1382 & 1381) found in an artist’s attic by a keen-eyed art collector also sold well above estimate, their vibrant colors exceptionally well preserved and characteristic of his fantastical portraits from the 1980s.

Luis Chan (1905-1995), Seven Untitled Works in an Accordion Binding, China, 1986. Sold for $9,375

Luis Chan (1905-1995), Judy Garlan[d] in Alice in New Wonderland, China, 1982. Sold for $7,500

Skinner is currently accepting consignments for 2021 auctions. We invite consignors to take advantage of this robust market to sell Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, and Central Asian art, objects, and furniture.

About Skinner

Skinner attracts top consignments and commands record-breaking prices in the international auction marketplace. With renowned expertise and extraordinary service, Skinner is the place for buyers, sellers and the passionately curious. Skinner appraisers are familiar faces on PBS’s 18-time Emmy Award-nominated ANTIQUES ROADSHOW. Visit us in Boston, Marlborough, Maine, New York or Florida, or online at https://www.skinnerinc.com

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