Chinese Bronze Brush Rest
My girlfriend's name is Kerry, and when we were first dating, we were haunting a lot of flea markets and garage sales. It was a cheap date, and we came across this piece. A dealer said he'd gotten from an estate sale in Florida, he knew nothing about it. But my girlfriend is absolutely crazy about Chinese artwork, and dragons in particular. From the piece, the way it's built, she thought that it rested on the edge of something. And she found out that since it has a certain number of toes, it's either Chinese or Korean.
Well, actually, the piece is Chinese. Well, when it comes to these dragons, you know, the five-clawed dragons are emblems for the imperial house, and that kind of dragon is referred to as long. When a dragon has four claws, that's referred to as mang. And then when a dragon has three claws, or even two claws, they're referred to as zhi. There were water dragons, sky dragons, earth dragons, you know, all different emblems.
Can you tell what this one is meant to be?
This one would be zhi.
Yeah, and it didn't hang on anything. Actually, it say flat like it does there. And what its original usage was, it was for holding a brush. For a brush to sit like that to keep the ink from staining the table. And it's a Chinese scholar's item. Chinese scholars officials used to consider the most precious objects to be ink sticks, ink stones, and brushes. But it is Chinese and it's also 18th century. And, what did you pay for it?
She wanted it more than anything that she's ever wanted in her whole life, but because it was $200, she insisted that we not buy it, and I said I would be happy to get it for her, 'cause it made her so very happy. Well, she wouldn't hear of it, it was too expensive. So I went back later, bought it, and gave it to her, and she burst into tears.
That was a good result!
And, yes, it's gotten me a lot of mileage since then.
It's a wonderful object, but in terms of its value, you actually made a good investment. Not that it's all together that much money, but still an object like this, a conservative estimate at auction, would be like $500 to $700, and I would expect it actually to sell for quite a bit more, because these objects are very, very popular, very desirable, an enormous amount of collectors for these things.
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Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."
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