Chinese Art

Chinese Art at Skinner includes antique and contemporary paintings, prints, furniture, ceramics, jade, and other decorative arts and antiques.



Chinese artisans have been creating works of master craftsmanship and stunning beauty for over two millennia. Paper, lacquer, porcelain, cast iron, and woodblock printing all originated in China, and later spread to the Western world. The Chinese influence on decorative arts is so pervasive that the word “china” in English means “fine porcelain.”

Chinese antiquities and works of the Imperial period such as jade carvings, stoneware, and porcelain objects have inspired artists both in China and around the world for thousands of years. Jade, a precious stone with special cultural significance, and celadon glaze, a blue or green-colored surface for Chinese ceramics, have both become iconic symbols of Chinese art, as have design motifs such as dragons, tigers, lotus blossoms, mountains, and Buddhas.

From the 16th through the 19th century, trade from China contributed significantly to the world’s material culture. Decorative arts, furniture, silk, fabrics, and art produced in China found their way into the homes and hearts of Europeans and early Americans. In the 21st century, China has re-emerged as a world power, and wealthy Chinese art collectors seek out the paintings, pottery, jewelry, textiles, and figurines made by their ancestors. Skinner plays a role because of our strong roots in New England — historically, wealthy families in the area collected some of the finest examples of Chinese art and antiques.

True Imperial pieces are extremely rare and may bring hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars at auction. Imitations of these early works are much more common. Authentication is an important factor when looking at any antique, but it is especially important to be on the look-out for possible reproductions when dealing with Chinese art.

Skinner understands the importance of honest, thorough appraisal and keeps a close eye on changes in the vibrant Chinese art market. Judith Dowling, Director of Asian Works of Art at Skinner, excels at appraising Chinese art and bringing to auction important, high quality collections that have been in one family for decades.

Contemporary Chinese paintings and prints are also quite popular with collectors. In 2011, Skinner sold Album Leaves for $1.2 Million, a work including paintings by modern Chinese artists such as Zhang Daqian. Contact Skinner today to discuss consignment of your antique or fine contemporary Chinese art.


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