Chinese Carved Ivory Wrist Rests, ca. 1920
Appraised Value: $5,000 - $7,000
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (2:11)
Bonhams & Butterfields, SF
GUEST: We received them from my wife's aunt, who was from Holland originally. She was the secretary to the base commander at Guam for 16 years, and I think that's where she got these, because she always traveled to Japan from Guam. She was always buying some things from Japan.
APPRAISER: Well, you know, these aren't Japanese.
GUEST: They're not?
APPRAISER: They're Chinese.
GUEST: I didn't know that.
APPRAISER: Right. And they're modeled on a scholar's object called a wrist rest. Chinese scholars used to rest their wrist on pieces of this shape and do their painting and calligraphy and their correspondence, and then later on, through the Qing period, these took on a more decorative meaning, and often in the early Qing period, the undersides of these were carved as well, and they were polychromed. These are actually late examples-- these were made around 1920-- and they retain a lot of their polychrome, which you don't really see on the older pieces. The older pieces would have been carved with very intricate landscape scenes and figural scenes. This is a little bit more simplified, and very, very elegantly decorated. These are made of elephant ivory. This would be two halves of an ivory tusk. Beautifully carved with these maidens in a garden, and you've kept them in very good condition. The box is also from that era, and so the entire package is very attractive to people who would be looking for these pieces at auction. Five or ten years ago, these pieces would be highly collectible, but you know, they'd only be worth, at auction, about $500 to $700. What do you think they're worth today?
GUEST: I have no idea.
APPRAISER: About ten times that value.
GUEST: Oh, really?
APPRAISER: They could bring at auction as much as $5,000 to $7,000.
GUEST: Unbelievable. That's really wonderful.
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