Treasures of the East: Skinner’s September Asian Works of Art Auction Offers Alluring Jade, Cloisonné, and Textiles

Pair of Large Bronze and Cloisonné Roosters, China (Lot 333, Estimate $20,000-30,000)

Skinner’s fall Asian Works of Art auction presents more than 500 lots, with outstanding examples of textiles, jade, cloisonné, painted miniatures, Peking glass, and metal wares. The auction will take place at Skinner’s Boston Gallery on Friday, September 15 at 10AM.

Jade, considered the most precious material in Chinese traditional culture, is believed to promote wisdom, balance, and peace. This revered mineral, with its rich mystical significance, is used to create artifacts that exhibit the finest craftsmanship of great artisans.

An important group of jades is included in this auction. They were collected in the 1960s and 70s, and are accompanied by their original receipts. Among the most noteworthy:

• Jade Carving of a Mythical Bird standing on a leaf with a peony blossom in its mouth (Lot 296, estimated between $2,000-3,000).

• Translucent White Nephrite Jade Plate, 19th century (Lot 304, $2,000-3,000).

Another distinguished jade object is a ruyi scepter, a decorative carving associated with Chinese Buddhist beliefs and a talisman of power and good luck in Chinese folklore.

• Jade Ruyi Scepter, in the shape of a gnarly branch intertwined with open work lingzhi mushrooms, the head with pomegranate seeds and an open work chilong, celadon stone with yellow tint and russet markings (Lot 246, $10,000-12,000).

Selection of Jade (Lots 291 and 296)

Cloisonné, the ancient decorative technique of applying colorful enamels to a metal base and then firing the completed object in a kiln, reached exceptional heights in China. Judith Dowling, Director of Asian Works of Art, notes that this auction includes an outstanding quantity and variety of fine cloisonné objects.

One of the auction highlights, exceptional for size and workmanship, is:

• A Pair of Large Bronze and Cloisonné roosters, China, 19th/20th century, each with upturned head and open beak, standing on a rock base with a red sun (Lot 333, $20,000-30,000).

Other fine expressions of cloisonné artistry include a pair of crane censers, each bird holding a peach branch (Lot 336, $500-700) and several examples of jade and hard stone flowers in cloisonné containers.

There is increasing interest in textiles among collectors and connoisseurs, in large part because of the growing recognition that the traditional skills that have created the legendary excellence of Asian textile arts are disappearing.

Nine-dragon Blue-ground Robe, China (Lot 442, Estimate $1,200-1,500)

The Kingfisher Manchu woman’s headdress is a notable example. It includes numerous phoenixes, a reference to the empress, with many auspicious symbols.  The workmanship is superior, and it is complete with four hanging pearl, semi-precious and Kingfisher feather attachments. Most often these attachments are lost (Lot 429, $3,000-5,000).

Other noteworthy textiles include a Chinese semiformal silk robe with satin embroidery depicting dragons, cranes, bats, and clouds (Lot 430, $2,000-3,000); and a Japanese uchikake kimono from the 18th/19th century embroidered with red, green, and metallic threads depicting symbols of longevity (Lot 451, $800-1,000).

Paintings and prints are represented by numerous excellent pieces, including a collection of miniatures from Persia and India assembled in Beirut and brought to the United States in the early 1980s and works on paper from Japan. Highlights include:

Shiko Munakata (1903-1975) Woodblock Print, Japan (Lot 470, Estimate $3,000-5,000)

• Portrait of a Princely ManPersia, 19th century, possibly of Qajar dynasty, seated in a chair on a carpeted floor, with a book in his left hand (Lot 5, $800-1,000).

• Hanging Scroll Depicting a Monk Playing the Flute, Japan, Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) (Lot 467, $3,000-5,000).

• Shiko Munakata (1903-1975) Woodblock Print, Japan, dated 1960, depicting Subodai, Master of the Immaterial, from the series Ten Great Disciples of Buddha (Lot 470, $3,000-5,000).

Many more examples of the intriguing arts of Asia are to be found in this auction, including ceramics from China, Korea, and Japan; fine metal wares, including several Japanese Meji-period mixed metal objects; and an extensive assortment of Peking glass vases and snuff bottles.

Previews, Catalogs, and Bidding

Public auction previews will be held in Skinner’s Boston gallery, September 13 from 12PM-5PM, September 14 from 12PM-7PM, and September 15 from 9AM-10AM.

The print catalog is available for purchase from the Subscriptions Department at Prices realized will be available at during and after the sale. The Skinner website enables users to view all lots in the auction, leave bids, and bid live, in real-time through SkinnerLive!

About Skinner

Skinner auctions draw international interest from buyers and consignors alike, with material regularly achieving record prices. The company’s auction and appraisal services focus on fine art, jewelry, furniture, and decorative arts from around the globe, as well as wine, fine musical instruments, rare books, Asian art, clocks, Judaica, and more. Monthly Skinner Discovery auctions feature a breadth of estate material. Widely regarded as one of the most trusted names in the business, Skinner appraisers have appeared on the PBS-TV series, Antiques Roadshow, since the show’s inception. Skinner has galleries in Boston and Marlborough, Massachusetts, as well as in New York City and Miami, Florida, with bidders participating in person, by phone, and online. Join auctions live with SkinnerLive! and Bidsquare. For more information, visit, find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.


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