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Fri Dec 21 2012 12:43:46

Julia's January Auction Showcases Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot

By: Julia Wilkinson

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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.

Cultural Shift

"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!




Comments (9) | Permalink

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Julia's January Auction Showcases Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot   Julia's January Auction Showcases Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 21 14:33:51 2012

"Hot" as in stolen, maybe. I wouldn't trust any "Chinese antique" today.

Julia's January Auction Showcases Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot   Julia's January Auction Showcases Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot

This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww
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Fri Dec 21 15:48:37 2012

Hi RCL,

Mr. Callahan did have cautionary advice about fakes. They do exist, of course, unfortunately, but that is not to say the market is not ''hot'' in the sense of ''in demand and selling well.'' Here's what he said (blog was getting long so I didn't include it): ''The problem w/ fakes is there are whole categories of fakes that are almost impossible to tell the difference. You're actually reduced to looking at context, where it came out of, how it came on the market.'' Needless to say, if you're not sure what you have, best to take it to an expert to have it evaluated.

Julia's January Auction Showcases Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot   Julia's January Auction Showcases Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot

by: SnapPost This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Dec 24 00:28:00 2012

I was recently hired to help a nonprofit sell an estate that was donated to them by a member who passed on. The stuff was from his childhood home (I guess from the 50's). There was a lot of Asian stuff. It was very interesting for me to learn about this market. Great and interesting post.  Thanks.

Julia's January Auction Showcases Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot   Julia's January Auction Showcases Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot

by: Theresa This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 24 12:01:31 2012

Hi Julia.  I have a very interesting piece from a consignor that I know is legit and I know is special, but I don't know the best way to go about having it evaluated/appraised.

According to the owner, it was acquired by her great-grandmother in Asia (likely Japan, but she lived in various Asian countries throughout a 40 year period).  She referred to it as a silk "tonkha".  It is a large piece of silk fabric with stunning and intricately detailed handpainted artwork.  It was framed many years ago for protection although it does have some condition issues as she believes it was created in the late 1800's.  The heavy gilded wooden frame is around 4' tall and 2' wide, so shipping it somewhere is not really feasible.  I considered sending pics to Worthpoint, but I'm not sure that is the best decision for such a unique and apparently rare piece.  I have exhaustively searched the internet for more info but have found very little.  I am not particularly fond of the idea of selling it at auction since I am already selling it on consignment, but my intuition tells me this is really special and needs to be seen by a true expert.

I would greatly appreciate any advice or guidance you can provide.

Merry Christmas!

Theresa

Julia's January Auction Showcases Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot   Julia's January Auction Showcases Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot

This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww

Tue Dec 25 15:05:18 2012

Hi Theresa,
It sounds intriguing! I have had good experiences with worthpoint. I am also willing to ask mr. Callahan of Julia's if he's willing to answer your questions, assuming he can long distance (not sure where u are located).  
Another idea is auctiona.com.. They were at least at launch giving free appraisals; of course they hope folks will then sign with them to sell the piece, and it sounds like you are already selling it and will be taking a commission,
Let me know if you'd like me to check with mr. Callahan of Julia's for u. :)
Best of luck! - Julia  

Julia's January Auction Showcases Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot   Julia's January Auction Showcases Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot

This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww

Tue Dec 25 15:05:53 2012

Correction/typo fix..I meant that to say auctionata.com, not auctiona. ;)

Julia's January Auction Showcases Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot   Julia's January Auction Showcases Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot

by: Theresa This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 27 08:46:33 2012

Yes Julia, I would love for you to ask Mr. Callahan.  Is there a way for you to get my email address and I can forward you some pictures?  I don't really want to post it here.

Julia's January Auction Showcases Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot   Julia's January Auction Showcases Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot

This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww
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Thu Dec 27 11:09:18 2012

Hi Theresa,
Sure..just email me at juliawilk@aol.com. :) I can't guarantee he can help but he may have a suggestion for you. Best of luck! : )

Julia's January Auction Showcases Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot   Julia's January Auction Showcases Why Asian Antiques Are So Hot

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 27 13:17:28 2012

I really do not like the rhino horn photo but I do like the screen- Are there some other examples of Asian art that do not promote the killing of the rhino- and isn't Rhino horn ILLEGAL to sell here in the US (it should be)?
(I, for 1 , would avoid this auction house).
I am CONFUSED here as to why that would be the photo depicting Asian art.
At least the artist was only responsible for killing 18 rhinos to make this beautiful cup (sic).
I would rather have the rhinos.
Asian art is unique and beautiful but rhino horn, elephant horn, animal parts and ivory should be avoided at all cost.
And NO, ebay should also not be selling GUN PARTS and CLIPS, especially with the ongoing TRAGEDIES that are occuring in this country (and abroad).
Mass Howler



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