A Yongzheng mark and period robin’s egg-glazed censer, from Celestial Colors. The Cadle Family Collection of Chinese Monochromes at Sotheby’s, estimated at $400,000-600,000. The so-called ‘robin’s egg’ glaze was created as a reinterpretation of the famous Jun glazes of the Song and was developed at Jingdezhen under the direction of the official Tang Ying, who is known to have studied in detail the finest imperial porcelains of the Song dynasty. Although the production of the glaze continued until the end of the Qing dynasty, the finest pieces were created in the Yongzheng and Qianlong periods.

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Taking place on March 21, this offers a selection of monochromatic porcelains commissioned for the emperors of China’s Northern Song, Ming and Qing dynasties and includes examples of the best-known Chinese glazes.

Amassed mostly in the 1980s and advised by JJ Lally & Co, the group includes pieces with provenance to well-known collectors such as Edward T Chow, TY Chao and Henry Knight.

Among the stars is a Yongzheng mark and period flambé-glazed Jun ware jar modelled with florets. One of only three examples known of its type, it is estimated at $300,000-500,000.

The sale also includes a Yongzheng mark and period ‘robin’s egg’ glazed censer, guided at $400,000-600,000.


Maqbool Fida Husain’s (1913-2011) large-scale work Bulls (1961) will be offered in Sotheby’s Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art sale on March 20 estimated at $1m-1.5m. The 3ft 3in (99cm) oil on canvas was used as the cover image of Harry N Abrams’ 1971 monograph on the Indian artist and has appeared at auction only once before, at Christie’s New York in 2003. Husain considered the painting to be an important work in his oeuvre, and at the Christie’s auction, sitting next to the current owner, he requested that he keep bidding until he said to stop. Against an estimate of $18,000-24,000, the painting sold for $107,550. This was a world record price at the time for Husain and represented only the third painting by an Indian artist to cross the $100,000 mark at auction.

The firm’s AWNY schedule will also include Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art on March 20, led by Maqbool Fida Husain’s 1961 work Bulls priced at $1m-1.5m.

Indian and Himalayan Art, including Masterpieces from the Nyingjei Lam Collection follows on March 21 and Important Chinese Art on March 22. The latter features an archaic jade ceremonial axe from the celebrated Guennol collection, huanghuali furniture from the personal collection of the late Sir Joseph Hotung and over 60 Kangxi porcelains from London dealer Marchant.

Sotheby’s online auction, China 5000 years, runs throughout AWNY starting on March 16-28.