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Asian art Jadeite birds could soar to great heights in Beverly Hills

I M Chait's January sale will feature Ming dynasty iron figures, and an antique Steinway grand piano

I M Chait is one of America's foremost sellers of Asian art and antiques, holding regular sales including one earlier this year offering a classic Chinese libation cup made from rhino horn with incredibly ornate decorations.

Another great sale is scheduled for January 2011, and whilst nothing quite as valuable as that unique piece is going under the hammer, a number of extremely striking, investment-grade pieces will be appearing on the stage.

The sale is somewhat eclectic. There are some pieces of quite modern jewellery in amongst the lots and even a fine Steinway Model A, 'baby grand' concert piano, which would look more at home in one of Skinner's antique musical instrument auctions.

Of ebony lacquer finish with ivory keys; and customized with a built-in humidifier, the instrument bears the serial number 123856, and dates to circa 1906. Six foot and two inches long, and set on casters, it is expected to sell for $12,000-18,000.

Ming Dynasty iron figures
Ming Dynasty iron figures
(Click to enlarge)

The lots more obviously suited to the auction include a pair of large Ming dynasty iron figures.

These are extremely well-detailed, Chinese Ming Dynasty, iron figures of Bodhisattvas riding animals: one on top of an elephant; the other on a lion; each with hands held in varada and vitarka mudra, and each with some remaining polychrome accents.

As we've seen, finely crafted iron animal figures made in China can command high prices, although perhaps comparing these to Bonhams' dragon (see below) is not really appropriate. They are listed at $12,000-15,000.

Jadeite birds and fruit in a tree
Jadeite birds and fruit in a tree
(Click to enlarge)

The expected top lot, however, is a large carved jadeite group: Birds & Fruit. Large and finely carved, with much elaborate openwork, this is a Chinese jadeite group of birds perched amid a trellis of vines with clusters of grapes and tubular squash; the jadeite of light green with darker green suffusions, pale lavender coloration and some bright russet sections.

It is expected to bring $24,000-28,000 in I M Chait's sale, which takes place on January 16 in Beverley Hills, California and online. Collectors should look for some good investment opportunities as the Asian art and antiques market has been proving very strong in recent times.


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Images: I M Chait

Last updated: 30 December 2010