This category features works of art spanning the whole of the East from China, South East Asia, India and Pakistan including the culture of Gandhara.
A Chinese Mottled Nephrite Jade Bi Disc, Late Neolithic Period, ca. 3000 - 2000 BCE
AS2004Regular price $2,500 USD
Flat jade discs with a round central hole "bi" are among the earliest surviving artifacts of China and must be considered among great ancient art form - masterpieces of the Neolithic Period. Nephrite jade from which discs were fashioned is a prime hard and strong stone, arduous to work by hand using primitive stone tools and abrasives. It's no wonder then that jade discs "bi" represent remarkable craftsmanship.
While all theories presented to date are speculative, one based upon the warring states text "Zhou Li," thought "bi" to represent symbols of heaven and were used in ancient rituals together with square tubes "cong," symbolizing the earth. "To worship heaven with a bi" explains their importance and use. "Bi" also symbolizes the status of the high social rank and sheds light on why many carved jades have been found in Zhou royal tombs. They are prominently found in varied qualities, quantities, and sizes. Their ritual prominence stretches from the most ancient of Chinese history- Hongshan/Liangzhou/Longshan (4700-2190 BCE)/ Qi Jia cultures and on to the Zhou dynasty (3000-250 BCE) onwards. Today jade "bi" are emblematic of power, status, and privileged classes and offer more complex varied meaning.
cf: Rawson, J. "Chinese Jade from the Neolithic to the Qing, exhibition catalogue", The British Museum, London, 1995, pp 13ff, and Section 4. and also "Radiant Stones Archaic Chinese Jades, the Myrna and Samurai Myers collection", 2000 curated by Filippo Salviati, PhD, entry 14, Bi Disc.
Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall. Offered on museum-quality custom mount.
Dimensions: Diameter: 4 3/4 inches (12 cm)
Provenance: T. Swope private collection Hudson, NY, and accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity #11608 from Gu Fang, Senior Fellow of the Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
A Chinese Painted Pottery Court Lady, Tang Dynasty, ca. mid 8th century CE
AT2001Regular price $28,000 USD
Perhaps the most engaging and distinctive groups of Tang funerary sculpture is the one representing ladies of the court. This so-called “fat lady” is an exceptional example that reflects the Tang dynasty’s very highest artistic standards.
One of the most iconic and desired of all Tang ceramic types, she stands gracefully in fashionable demeanor, her left hand holds a rounded mirror, and, with head slightly tilted, she admires her reflection. Her sensitively modeled face has a natural grace and elegance expressed in the delicate features. The exquisite eyes, full cheeks, carefully plucked brows, and gentle smile flawlessly reflect the contemporary ideal of voluptuous beauty. Her hair is dressed in an elaborate coiffure known as duomaji (‘falling horse bun’) or woduoji (‘shirt falling bun’).
She is dressed in long-sleeved, flowing robes, all with incised design to emphasize the fluid folds and pleats of her gown, thus providing a sense of grace and dynamism to her voluptuous figure. Her tiny feet, encased within small upturned shoes, peep from the bottom of the gown.
Background: The Tang sculptors’ careful attention to fashion and physiognomy details allows us to trace in their works the changing fashions of ladies at court during this period. Models of court ladies made in the early part of the Tang dynasty depict them wearing tight-fitting garments that accentuated their slender forms.
However, the reign of Emperor Xuanzong (reigned 712-756) seems to have heralded the growth in popularity of a more generous female form and the adoption of less structured, more flowing robes. This shift in aesthetic tastes is thought to have been influenced by the Emperor's favorite concubine, Yang Guifei (719 - 756), known as one of the four great beauties of ancient China, and whose curvaceous physique was legendary. Yet, excavated figures suggest the fashion was already coming to prominence by the time Yang Guifei won the emperor’s admiration. Dressed in elegant clothes with their hair arranged in elaborate coiffures, and their faces beautified with cosmetics, these aristocratic Tang women figures possess a singular grace and charm.
An Oxford Research Laboratory Thermoluminescence test accompanies this piece, which scientifically dates it to the Tang Period (618 - 906 CE).
cf: Jan Fontein and Tung Wu, Unearthing China’s Past (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1973), pp. 174-175, no. 89 (46cm high) and fig. 90.
Diao Shi Ru Sheng: Gugong Cang Sui Tang Taoyong (Carved and Clothed as if Alive: Sui and Tang Dynasty Tomb Figurines in the Collection of the Gugong Museum), Forbidden City press, Beijing, 2006, no. 44, p. 98
Bower, V., From Court to Caravan: Chinese Tomb Sculptures from the Collection of Anthony M. Solomon, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Mass. 2002, no.33, p.112
James C.Y. Watt and Prudence Oliver Harper (ed.), China: Dawn of a Golden Age, 200-750 AD (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2004), pp. 310-11, nos. 202 A and B.
Condition: Modeled from reddish colored clay, the left hand professionally reattached with cosmetic overpainting, some minor losses that do not detract, overall intact, and in excellent condition. An exceptional example that is unusual to find in collections outside of China.
Dimensions: Height: 15 1/8 inches (38.4 cm)
Provenance: Private NY collection, acquired from the NYC trade in 2003. Accompanied by Oxford Authentication Ltd Thermoluminescence Test C103p47 consistent with the dating.
A pair Chinese Equestrian Musicians, Northern Wei Period, ca. 386-534 CE
AT002-PBRegular price $12,000 USD
Condition: Age appropriate wear including flaking to the pigment; each equestrian figure with breaks to the legs of the horse, professionally rejoined, with good remaining polychrome.
Dimensions: Height: 7.5 ins (19 cm) Width: 9 ins (22.8cm)
Provenance: Private Washington D.C. collection, since 1970s, then by descent.
A Chinese Lokapala Temple Spirit Guardian, Tang Dynasty, ca. 618 - 906 CE
AT003-PBRegular price $9,500 USD
Chinese Buddhist guardian statues made of earthenware and pigments, from the Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD), dated to the late 7th to first half of the 8th century.
The foreign facial features of this brilliantly sculpted guardian figure is evidence of the strong Western presence in Tang-dynasty China. Originating in the Lokapala deity of the Buddhist religion, which came to China from the West, this type of armored tomb guardian had an apotropaic function in Chinese burials.
Dimensions: Height: 24 inches (60 cm)
Condition: Intact and in very good condition, with good pigment remaining.
Provenance: Private Virginia collection, acquired from the NY trade.
A Han Dynasty Garlic Head Bronze Hu Jar, ca. 206 BCE - 220 CE
AB003-PBRegular price $1,500 USD
A fine and rare ancient Chinese bronze "garlic head" hu wine jar dating to the Han dynasty. Featuring fine brown and green patina, the vessel stands on a circular foot, has a low, bulbous body that narrows to a long, thin neck ending in a garlic shaped final.
Dimensions: Height: 15 inches (38 cm)
Condition: Some age appropriate wear, minor losses and areas of restoration, small hole where spacer partially disloged, dent to body.
Provenance: Private Washington D.C. collection.
A mottled red sandstone head of a Jina, India, 11th/12th century CE
AS1803Regular price $15,000 USD
In Jainism, a Tirthankara (Sanskrit: tīrthaṅkara; English: literally a 'ford-maker') is a savior and spiritual teacher of the dharma (righteous path). The word Tirthankara signifies the founder of a tirtha, which is a fordable passage across the sea of interminable births and deaths, the saṃsāra. According to Jains, a Tirthankara is a rare individual who has conquered the saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth, on their own and made a path for others to follow. After understanding the true nature of the Self or soul, the Tīrthaṅkara attains Kevala Jnana (omniscience), and the first Tirthankara refounds Jainism. Tirthankara provides a bridge for others to follow the new teacher from saṃsāra to moksha (liberation).
Mahavira (6th century BCE) was the last Tirthankara to appear. According to tradition, his predecessor, Parshvanatha, lived about 250 years earlier; the other Tirthankaras mentioned in the Jain scriptures cannot be considered historical figures. According to Jain belief, each cosmic age produces its own group of 24 Tirthankaras, the first of whom—if it is an age of descending purity—are giants, but they decrease in stature and appear after shorter intervals of time as the age proceeds.
Condition: Some losses to both ears, and loss to the underside tip of nose, and a few very minor chips on the hair knots, otherwise intact and in very good condition overall. Custom base. A beautiful example.
Dimensions: Height: 8 inches (20.3 cm), mounted height: 12 1/2 inches (31.75)
Provenance: Private NYC collection. Ex. Sotheby's, NYC, November 30, 1982, lot # 254 and Ex. Sotheby's, NYC, December 13, 2005, lot 53.
A Pair of Tang Dynasty Bronze Lidded Bowls, ca. 618 - 906 CE
AB1901Regular price $3,500 USD
An exceptionally rare pair of ancient Chinese bronze lidded bowls, dating to the Tang dynasty. Sturdily constructed, they may have been made originally as alms bowls.
Dimensions: Width: 5.6 inches (14.22 cm)
Condition: Minor age appropriate wear, but otherwise intact and in very good condition overall.
Provenance: Private Washington D.C. collection, acquired from Allan antiques in the 1970s.
A Gandhara Schist Head of a Devotee, ca 1st century BCE/CE
AS1408Regular price $1,500 USD
from a larger frieze of fine grey schist, the lavishly mustached head inclined to the left, and wearing an elaborate headdress.
Reference: Carolyn Woodford Schmidt "Aristocratic Devotees in Early Buddhist Art from Greater Gandhara: Characteristics, Chronology, and Symbolism", South Asian Stud 21 2005.
Condition: fragmentary, condition commensurate with age with minor loss to the nose, some mineral accretion especially inside the crevices, nicely carved and presents very well.
Dimensions:Width: 4 inches (10.16 cm), Height: 3 inches (7.62 cm)
Provenance: Private Woodbury, Connecticut collection, acquired in the 1960's and then by descent.