Archaic bronzes and classic age ceramics sent for sale from Japan and early stone sculpture from a European collection were key in a $60m-plus series.
US dealers fear such consignments will be lost to other selling centres should a 25% tariff on imported Chinese art and antiques (regardless of port of origin) come into effect as part of a US-China trade row (ATG No 2354).
Christie’s best-seller across eight Asian Week sales (September 11-14) came from outside the US: an 8th century limestone figure of Mahasthamaprapta sold at $2.7m (£2.1m).
One of two seven-figure early Tang sculptures described as ‘the property of a distinguished European collector’, it was last sold by Christie’s New York in 1998 for a premium-inclusive $266,500.
Christie’s was also selling more of the $40m Japanese Linyushanren collection of Song ceramics. This fourth tranche, focused on wares from the Cizhou kilns in southern Hebei, contributed $1.2m.
Archaic bronzes, often imported for sale, have proved lucrative in recent New York sales. Sotheby’s Chinese art sale on September 12 was topped by a 14in (35cm) late Shang dynasty zun (ritual wine container) from ‘a Japanese private collection’. A scarce and finely preserved form from the Yinxu period (1300- 1046BC) decorated with taotie masks, cicada and the mythological kuilong, it doubled hopes at $1.1m (£845,000).
Sotheby’s five sales (September 12-15) were also led by Tang sculpture, a 3ft 3in (1m) high bodhisattva from the Xuanzong period (713-755) selling at $3.5m (£2.7m). It was part of the sale of Chinese Buddhist sculpture from the family of Chicago collector Stephen Junkunc III (d.1978).
With a day of selling to come, Sotheby’s at ($30.6m) and Christie’s ($29m) had posted similar totals at the time of going to press.