Qianlong dynasty lapis lazuli-made tablescreen stars in Asian antiques auction

We've already mentioned some of the greatest highlights of an Asian antiques auction being offered by a Californian auctioneer in New York next month:

A Ming Xuande porcelain sprinkler from the 15th century and a Yuan dynasty porcelain bowl are likely reach six-figure sums, whilst an incredible carved spinach jade brush pot could sell for $50,000.

Of course, any Asian antiques collector will expect such a high quality auction to include some mesmerising porcelain and jade artworks. One of the other highlights, however, is a little more unusual.

Qianlong Lapis Lazuli Tablescreen Scene
The scene-side of the Qianlong dynasty Tablescreen

This is a fascinating Qianlong table screen made from lapis lazuli with the light glistening on the deep cobalt blue colour. The face presents a scene in relief, with a figural scene of sages and pavilions amongst the mountains.

The reverse presents an Imperial poem, and an inscription by Chen Wang Jihua Jingshu ("Respectfully inscribed by Wang Jihua"). It is supported by a fine Zitan wood stand with carved lotus panels.

Whilst it is certainly from the Qianlong period, there is some suggestion that it is actually of Imperial provenance - that is what the auction house is inclined to believe.

Qianlong Lapis Lazuli Tablescreen Writing
An Imperial poem is written onto the Lapis Lazuli

"Most table screens of this type are made of wood. Lapis is more rare." commented auctioneer I M Chait. The lot, from an old Shanghai collection, is estimated at $35,000-$40,000.

High quality items are still being consigned to the auction, recently including a collection of extremely fine 20th-century netsukes, numbering 70. Most of these are made from ivory and all are by important carvers.

We've reported recently on netsuke and their increasing strength in the markets. The auction takes place on March 21.

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