A 14th century blue and white guan which features in Eskenazi’s exhibition.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

This latest staging welcomes collectors back to the capital for the first time since UK pandemic restrictions have been lifted.

The formula remains much the same as it was back in 1998 although it has been tweaked across the years.

For October 30-November 5 there are some fresh features.

Two are designed to promote the next generation of dealers and collectors. These are the launch of a new participant category for Emerging Dealers and Galleries (three have been chosen) and the emphasis on some of the more affordably priced objects, championed by a new section on the AAL website for participants to list works of art that are priced under £5000.

This year’s programme also moves away from the traditional Mayfair, Kensington Church Street and St James’s ‘late night openings’ in favour of two London-wide Thursday night launch evenings; for Indian & Islamic Art on October 20 and for East Asian Art on October 27.

Three group venues will be open this autumn: Cromwell Place in South Kensington will host five participants; five more will be exhibiting at Shapero Rare Books while nine participants contributed to the group show The Art of Collecting: Japan at Japan House in Kensington.

ATG is among the sponsors of the event and will present an award to the auction house offering this year’s outstanding lot. The shortlist appears on page 32-33 alongside a wide selection of Chinese and Japanese works of arts for sale available to buy from dealers and a range of affiliated and non-affiliated UK auction houses.

Song water dropper, warts and all


12th century Qingbai water dropper – priced in the region of £20,000 at Priestley & Ferraro.

Priestley & Ferraro specialises in early Chinese art, with a focus on the ceramics of the Song dynasty (960-1279) in particular.

Its exhibition with accompanying catalogue, Early Chinese and Korean Ceramics and Works of Art, includes this 12th century Qingbai water dropper skilfully fashioned using a two-part mould in the form of a toad. Measuring 2½in (6.5cm) across, it has a pale blue glaze.

The toad is a richly symbolic creature in China with mythological links to the moon and immortality. From a practical point of view, the warty skin makes a pleasingly rough and easily gripped surface for the artist or calligrapher using the dropper. This piece has a provenance to Francis Brodie Lodge (1880-1967) and his wife Enid, major collectors during the middle years of the 20th century, great friends of George Eumorfopoulos and Sir Percival David, and important contributors to Oriental Ceramics Society Exhibitions. The price is in the region of £20,000.

From terrific Neolithic to Han and Tang


Neolithic Majiayao vessel offered at Wang Shanshan’s first AAL exhibition.

W Shanshan, showing in AAL’s Emerging Dealers category, specialises in ancient Chinese ceramics and sculptures from the Neolithic period to the Han and Tang dynasties. Wang Shanshan’s first AAL exhibition and lecture programme titled Lives at Dawn: Neolithic Painted Pottery runs from October 11 to December 8.

Five painted pottery jars from the Neolithic Majiayao culture, 2600-2300BC, are on offer including this 15in (38cm) vessel decorated in black, dark brown and red pigment with a god in quasi-human form. It has a provenance to an old British collection.

The price range for the jars is £7500- 35,000.

Second show on early Chinese ceramics


Jun ware lavender glazed deep dish, offered for £42,000 at Marchant.

Marchant’s selling exhibition for AAL is Chinese Ceramics Tang to Song, showcasing 43 pieces from a collecting discipline the gallery has championed since its founding in 1925. This is Marchant’s second exhibition dedicated to the subject of early Chinese ceramics, following on from Han to Song in 2018.

The catalogue is arranged in chronological order with piece number 36, this 7in (19cm) Jun ware lavender glazed deep dish from the Hunan kilns of the Northern Song. The 11th-12th century piece, from an English private collection and last sold by John Sparks, London in 1989, is priced at £42,000.

Armless fun thanks to netsuke


Wood netsuke, c.1820, priced between £5000-6000 at Rosemary Bandini Japanese Art.

Rosemary Bandini Japanese Art, specialist in netsuke and sagemono, is exhibiting a selection of stock at Japan House from October 24 to November 20. This unsigned wood netsuke, c.1820, depicts a demon weeping over the severed arm of the Rashomon demon. It is priced between £5000-6000.

Japanese ewers ‘for Middle Eastern market’

JAN Fine Art is asking a five-figure sum for this pair of Japanese porcelain blue and white ewers made in Arita c.1680-1710. The form and decoration suggest they were produced for the Middle Eastern market.

Snuff bottles from a golden autumn


A blue and white porcelain bottle from the Daoguang period (1820-50), priced at £4400 from Susan Page Snuff Bottles.

Fresh from exhibiting at the International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society Convention in San Francisco, Susan Page Snuff Bottles will show pieces at Daniel Crouch Rare Books in London from November 1-5.

They come from the Golden Autumn Collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles, the subject of a catalogue published by Robert Kleiner in 2012. It was formed from the 1970s onwards by a businessman who travelled within China, the Far East and Australia. The first bottles he acquired were in Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong from Hugh Moss and YF Yang and he later met with Robert Kleiner and then Robert Hall in London.

This blue and white porcelain bottle, decorated with two crabs and a spray of millet to one side and magpies perched on the branches of a willow tree to the other, dates from the Daoguang period (1820-50) and is inscribed to the base Yun shi zhi (Made by the Rock Weeder). It is priced at £4400.

With vest intentions

At Shapero Rare Books from October- November 5, Jacqueline Simcox is exhibiting Ming and Qing textiles and costume.

Among the latter is this rare sleeveless silk kesi made for a Guangxu (1875-1908) court lady of the very highest rank.

Such sleeveless vests, this one worked with yellow quails in flight on an apple green ground, became particularly elaborate towards the end of the Qing dynasty. A similar vest embroidered with cranes in flight made for the Guangxu empress or an imperial concubine is pictured in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the the Palace Museum: Costumes and Accessories of the Qing Court (2005) on an apple green ground.

Acquired in China prior to 1949 and more recently the property of a US collection, it is priced at £27,000.

Eskenazi: five masterpieces, 50 years


A 14th century blue and white guan which features in Eskenazi’s exhibition.

Running from October 27 until February 3, Eskenazi is marking 50 years of exhibitions with a show of five masterpieces of Chinese art on loan from a private European family collection.

Each of the five objects, all of which were acquired through the gallery over the past decades, is among the finest of their type and represent high points of artistic creativity in the Song, Yuan and Qing periods.

Pictured here is a 14th century blue and white guan that Eskenazi bought on behalf of his client for £14m (plus buyer’s premium) at Christie’s in 2005. At the time the 13in (33cm) jar, the only one of its type decorated with legendary literary scenes taken from China’s History of the Warring States, broke the auction record for any work of Asian art.

Giuseppe Eskenazi and his father opened an office in London in 1960; however, it was not until 1972 that the business moved to a gallery in Piccadilly purpose-built to show themed exhibitions – the first titled Early Chinese ceramics and works of art.

In 1993, Eskenazi moved to the gallery on Clifford Street in Mayfair. It has since been the venue for the company’s annual autumn themed exhibitions which this year celebrate their 50th anniversary, and which have always been eagerly anticipated for the rarity and beauty of the objects offered.

Ideal for writing down your reflections on life

Hertfordshire-based dealer Simon Pilling conducts his AAL exhibition, Reflections, at Gallery 8, St James’s.

The exhibits will include this Showa period document box (bunko) and writing box (suzuribako) by Koda Katei (1886- 1961) priced at £12,000. In this set the artist, the younger brother of renowned lacquer artist, Koda Shuetsu (1881-1933), depicts plum blossom on the writing box, while the larger document box shows a design of young bamboo, executed in varied gold maki-e.

Both appear against the bark of the pine tree, completing the trio of plants that make the Three Friends in Winter. The suzuribako is complete with a silver suiteki (water dropper) in the shape of a spouted kettle, a set of original brushes, a paper punch and a paper knife with silver bindings.