Chinese antique wine container shaped like great bird may soar to $300,000

We've already covered what are expected to be some of the biggest sellers (both figuratively and literally) in Elite's auction of Asian antiques on March 17: Two huge elephant ivory tusks are listed at $100,000-$150,000 and a rhinoceros horn libation cup is expected to sell for up to $250,000

However, there are some other highly impressive antiques on offer, and the way the Chinese collectibles markets have been going it's quite possible that one or more of them could break the six-figure mark.

For example, dating back to the Ch'ing Dynasty there is an Imperial quality Chinese hand-carved red coral group of figures which is truly stunning, showing incredible attention to detail by their creator.

On average about a foot tall, each is posed on a wooden base, some of which have silver inlay. Some are expected to sell for around $30,000-$60,000 apiece.

A rather more soothing view after all that lurid crimson is an 18th century milky white jade Chinese covered urn. Another piece of Imperial quality craftsmanship no taller than the figures, it has been beautifully carved and rounded and should realise around $40,000-$60,000.

Chinese cast bronze bird container
Chinese cast bronze bird wine container

However, the strongest lot aside from the ivory and rhino horn much surely be an extremely rare Chinese bronze bird wine container made with a wax cast.

Covered with so much copper oxide that you'd easily believe it was deliberate if you didn't know better, the wine container is inlayed with silver, gold and copper and has otherwise withstood its countless years of burial very well.

Decorated with images of coiled snakes, birds and a mythical horned animal, the gold and silver also gives the wings the appearance of layered feathers. From the Warring states period (475-221 BC), it has been exhibited at Cornell Fine Art Museam, 1997 and is expected to sell for $200,000-300,000.

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