Lion roars in Asian Art sale

A mythical Chinese lion was one of the highlights of a recent two-day Asian and Islamic Art sale in Cheltenham. Dating from the Tang dynasty, it depicted a crouched animal with its front paws resting on a rock, and sold to a UK  bidder for £4,400, almost 50% above its top £3,000 estimate.

Carved marble mythical lion

Day one of the sale focused on Chinese art, and a Tang style jade pebble with greyish green and russet markings soared well above its top estimate of £1,000. Carved as a mythical, reclining lion-like beast and dating from the late Ming dynasty, it saw a number of interested parties fighting to secure the lot, eventually selling to a UK telephone bidder for £11,500.

Tang style greyish green and russet marked jade pebble

Also sparking interest was a Chinese hardwood altar table, in the Ming style with fluted supports. It quickly passed its conservative £300-£400 estimate with the hammer falling at £9,400, the winning bid from an overseas bidder.

Chinese hardwood altar table

Mallams had several examples of famille verte porcelain, renowned for its unique iridescence, in day one of the sale. One examples was a 19th-century Chinese famille verte octagonal vase featuring panels of exotic birds resting on flowering branches and a blue four-character Qianlong mark. Standing at 45cm high it was estimated at £400-£700 but was highly contested, eventually going for £3,600.

19th-century Chinese famille veste octagonal vase

A much older example of this type of porcelain, dating from the Kangxi dynasty (1662-1722) was also featured in the sale. This famille verte dish, painted with courtly ladies and a cat chasing a mouse provoked a bidding battle between online and phone bidders with an overseas telephone bidder claiming victory with a winning bid of £3,400, almost three times top estimate.

Day two of the sale featured Japanese, Islamic and Asian Art, and the top performing lot was a 17th-century, Korean, Tang style gilt bronze figure of Buddha, estimated at £400-£700. Coming to Mallams from a private English collection, it was a European bidder who placed the top bid of £5,000.

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