A 14th century cinnabar lacquer dish – estimate £80,000-120,000 at Bonhams.
The more Chinese art that comes back to China, the more tempting it is to sell in Hong Kong. For the first time this year, Christie’s will no longer hold Asian art sales in the UK (it continues to source its supplies here for sale in Paris, New York and Hong Kong).
The London market, once the center of the Asian art trade and still the repository of some of the most knowledgeable dealers on the subject, is undoubtedly weaker as a result.
However, it would be wrong to talk too much about decline. Sotheby’s will hold at least two Chinese Bond Street sales this year in May and November and this spring Bonhams is embracing the London market with four auctions (the three mentioned here plus an online sale of the Moeskops snuff box collection in June).
As always, there’s a lot going on in the regions too. Travel outside of Mayfair and St James and there are plenty of sales and – in this season’s harvest – a healthy range of well-proven pieces of obvious quality and some notable finds.
A selection of highlights appear in this issue.