Bonhams NYC: Chinese Embellishments Spanning 2,000 Years of Age
A collection of elegant embellishments spanning more than 2,000 years of Chinese history will be offered at Bonhams New York on 21 September. Among the 63 lots are gold, silver and bronze accessories such as hair ornaments, earrings, necklaces, bangles, ‘ear cups’, belt hooks and mat weights, as well as other early decorations rarely found on the market.
The first 50 lots come from the Ren Lu collection, collected over 25 years by the well-known designer, Robert Kuoof Los Angeles. He formed his collection with his discerning eye for objects spanning all major eras of design and aesthetic appeal in Chinese history.
The collection on offer includes pieces from both antiquity and modern representations of classic designs in jewellery and adornments. Across Chinese history, China has regarded gold and silver as symbols of wealth, power and identity. Because of the scarcity of the precious metal itself, as well as the intricacy and virtuosity of the artisans, refined embellishments were held in high esteem by the imperial family and the aristocracy, serving different functions from currency and reward to tribute.
However, the flavorand aesthetics of gold and silver varied from era to era, each with its own beauty. During the Warring States period (475 BC–221 BC), engraving, gold/silver inlay, and gilding were notable features, as well as bronze techniques further developed from soldering and casting.
The sale concludes with 12 pieces from various private collections,notably a fine and important gold ‘phoenix’ headband, Mid to late Qing dynasty, estimate US$180,000–220,000.
Dessa Goddard, US Head, Asian Art at Bonhams commented: “An embellishment collection like this is exceedingly rare on the market. Encompassing multiple eras of dynastic China, every workfrom this sale is a witness to its historical and cultural legacy, chosen with a designer’s eye to both classical and modern representations ofthe technique and craftsmanship of Chinese artisans.”
"“An embellishment collection like this is exceedingly rare on the market. Encompassing multiple eras of dynastic China ,every work from this sale is a witness to its historical and cultural legacy, chosen with a designer’s eye to both classical and modern representations of the technique and craftsmanship of Chinese artisans.”"