Chinese Jade & Porcelain Figures, ca. 1925

Value (2011) | $20,100 Auction$30,200 Auction
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GUEST:
These were pieces that my great-aunt, who lived in Peking, gave to my mother and father.

APPRAISER:
Let's start with the camel. The camel is in a style that dates from a period roughly corresponding to 600 A.D. to 900 A.D., which is what we would refer to as the Tang Dynasty. And that was a period of time when China was one of the great world powers. But because of distances, of course, there wasn't that much interaction directly between China and the West, but there was indirectly, through camel caravans, and the caravans would have various stops along the way where traders would buy and sell things, and we actually call this the silk trade route. So you would get ceramic versions of these. They were made to be included in the tombs of the wealthy merchants when they died. So the question is, does this date to the Tang Dynasty or does it not? The type of glaze on this camel is not the same as one you would find from the sixth, seventh, eighth century, from the early period camels that were included in the tombs. And the scale is too small. When I lifted it up and looked underneath, the clay is actually the wrong kind of clay. And the way the molding is done and the modeling is done of the features and the details indicate to me that this was likely made in the 1920s or '30s. So this is inspired by the earlier examples, but it's a copy. So the value of the camel as a very nice copy is going to be, at auction, maybe $100 to $200,

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
So not very much. On another note, we have these two figures that are carved in stone. These are made of a material called jadeite, which is the stone that comes from the area we would call Myanmar now, it used to be called Burma. And it's a stone that is characterized by often very brilliant emerald green color in the best examples, but also includes on this example here, you can see the lavender, and you do get some colors of darker green throughout. And there's a translucency to jadeite. It's not the same as nephrite, which is the other stone we commonly call jade. And what I found interesting about these is not only the material, but also the iconography. The image of the dragon, which has this overlarge head, seated on these plinths, which is more commonly seen with Buddhist lions, which often are called Foo Dogs, and I love the bases that they're on, which are these kind of lotus leaf-inspired kind of carved bases that are rectangular. I think these were likely made right around 1920 to '30. And I believe they were not necessarily made for a Western audience, but probably for an audience of people living in Beijing at the time. Now, you might have thought that they were bookends. I don't think they were created as bookends. I think these were created to actually sit on a table and be a kind of forefront in a display of a wealthy person's home. All of us agree that... I think that a value in the neighborhood of around $20,000 to $30,000 would not be unexpected. And that would be at auction.

GUEST:
Right, right.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Lark Mason Associates
New York, New York
Appraised value (2011)
$20,100 Auction$30,200 Auction
Event
Pittsburgh, PA (August 13, 2011)
Period
20th Century
Form
Figure
Material
Jade, Porcelain

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