An important blue and white peony scroll jar. Yuan Dynasty. Dimensions: 28.6 x 34.9cm. Bonhams. The continued buoyancy of the global Asian art and antiquities market, and the British capital’s preeminent place within it, is reflected by Asian Art in London, a ten-day festival of sales and events on the subject that now celebrates its fifteenth year.
Bonhams in Bond Street has two auctions, on Chinese and Japanese objects respectively, with objects ranging from Edo-period samurai armour (estimate £30,000–£40,000) to a Yuan blue-and-white porcelain jar (expected to pass the £1 million mark).
A rare cloisonné enamel arrow vase with gilt-bronze inlaid motifs. Qianlong period (1736-95). Christie’s. Sotheby’s in New Bond Street have a sale that showcases Chinese ceramics, jades, metalwork and furniture, such as an exquisite Qianlong-period jade brushpot, which is intricately carved with a relief of an idyllic landscape (estimate £100,000–£150,000); high quality jade objects also feature at Christie’s in South Kensington, whose other highlights include some very special cloisonné enamels, like an imperial vase, also from the Qianlong period, that was inscribed with a poem written by the famous calligrapher and painter Huang Yi (estimate £400,000–£600,000).
Imperial Mughal Jali. Red sandstone, Mughal, circa 1571-1605. Dimensions: 130 x 114 x 10cm. Sam Fogg. If, like me, you don’t earn the sums to buy any of these treasures, the day viewings before the auctions are still a worthwhile visit. And various affordable lectures and exhibitions coincide with Asian Art in London.
This coming Thursday a show of Mughal art, culture and science opens at the British Library – and on the same day, a short distance from the capital in Oxford, the Ashmolean Museum stages a sumptuous-looking show on ornamental textiles from Japan.
London's commercial galleries also get out their finest wares to coincide with the influx of collectors. For those wanting to see something other than ceramics, some standout shows include Himalayan-Buddhist religious art at Clifford Street’s Rossi & Rossi and Indian stone carvings at Sam Fogg on the same road.