A 14th century cinnabar lacquer dish - estimate £80,000-120,000 at Bonhams.

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The more Chinese art that makes its way back to China, the more it is tempting to sell on the doorstep in Hong Kong. For the first time, this year Christie’s will no longer hold sales of Asian art in the UK (it continues to source material here for sale in Paris, New York and Hong Kong).

The London market, once the centre of the Asian art trade and still the repository for some of the most knowledgeable dealers on the subject, is doubtless weaker as a result.


Kangxi famille noire vase – estimate £220,000-280,000 at Sotheby's.

However, it would be wrong to talk too much of decline. Sotheby’s will hold at least two Bond Street Chinese sales this year in May and November and this spring Bonhams embraces the London market with four auctions (the three mentioned here plus an online sale of the Moeskops collection of snuff bottles in June).

As always, plenty is going on in the regions too. Travel outside Mayfair and St James and there is a host of sales and – in this season’s crop – a healthy range of well-provenanced pieces of obvious quality and some notable discoveries.

A selection of highlights appears in this issue.