|Fri Dec 21 2012 12:43:46|
Julia's January Auction Showcases Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot
By: Julia Wilkinson
Did you know Asian art and antiques are especially in demand these days, and commanding record prices? It turns out there are several reasons for that, and we learned them from James Callahan, Asian Art Director of James D. Julia, Inc. Auctioneers. Julia's has a couple of particularly special pieces coming up on the block at their upcoming Annual Winter Antique, Asian & Fine Art Auction, which will be held January 31st through February 1st, 2013.
Huge Market, Younger Market
One reason is the demographics of so many people, he said. "You know, it's a huge market. And then, unlike the antiques market in the United States, it's a much younger market." The average age of a Chinese auction attendee is "probably 50," he said, meaning there are a lot of 28 and some 70-year-olds. Whereas, in American furniture collecting, for example, "I would say the average age is 70." This means very few in their 50s and a lot in their 80s.
"It's a case of it's a vast, vast market; it's an immensely larger market than the United States," said Callahan.
"They're returning to normal," he said, referring to China's cultural revolution, which opposed the 'before olds' -- old things; old ways of thinking. "They're just getting back into their normal pattern."
Callahan said Americans have a tendency to not really understand Chinese art. He mentioned a vase found a while back in a suburban London home that sold for 51.6 million pounds ($83 million). "When that vase was made it was the 18th century, it was technologically impossible for anyone in Europe to have made it," he said.
And Asian art goes much farther back than Western art. "If you look at our culture, we're harkening back to as late as Roman times. By Roman times, they already had almost 3000 years on us," he explained.
There also are certain archetypes in Asian art. What types sell the best? One of the types is arcane ritual bronzes, used in ceremonies involved in every aspect of life, said Callahan. One example is "nine bronze cauldrons," known as the nine cauldrons of Zhou (the Zhou dynasty). "If someone possesses these nine cauldrons, he then has legitimacy to rule the country," he explained.
Julia's Auction Items
The items Julia's will be selling include a breathtaking Chinese rhinoceros horn "raft style" cup (see image above) produced during the K’ang Hsi period (1662 to 1722), according to Julia's Marketing and Business Development Coordinator Rebekah Kaufman. "There are only 18 known raft cups in the world - but none with the type of carving and subject matter of this one," she said.
The second is an important Korean palace longevity screen featuring an artist's interpretation of the Gardens of Longevity. This 18th-century piece consists of 10 silk panel screens which have been hand-painted with ink and mineral pigments. This screen is so special, said Callahan that if "you take all those screens that were selected for superior quality" at the palace museum in Seoul, "because this screen exists, those #10s have all been reduced to a 5. It's that much better."
Are you interested in Asian art, especially with the sizzling market for it these days? Have you ever sought to buy it or sell it? Post a comment here!