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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Wu

It's time to Catalogue Asian Art!!! Upcoming Highlights from my Spring 2022 Auction @Heffel

Updated: Mar 23, 2022

Hope everyone is doing well! It's been a while since I last posted... sorry about that! But at least I've been keeping myself busy with work. Since the start of 2022, I've been taking on various Asian art appraisal and valuation projects throughout Canada.

I've been on the road quite a lot too with trips to Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal. And finally in March, I will be heading to New York for the Asia Week 2022 events. You can read about my last trip to NYC in a blog I posted during the Fall of 2021.

One of my larger projects at the moment is putting together Heffel's next Asian art online sale. This will be my third sale collaborating with Heffel, Canada's national auctions house, and it is scheduled to run from April 7-28. Over the past few months, I have been collecting consignments from the Heffel regional offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.

Group of Chinese Porcelain at Heffel

Image 1. A view of my temporary desk at the Toronto Heffel office. It's essentially just my computer, a whole bunch of objects scheduled for the sale, and LOTS of bubble wrap.

My job when I am cataloguing objects is to title, date, measure and describe each of the items. I'm also responsible for noting the condition i.e. if the item is in good condition, or it has some issues like a hairline crack, chip, etc.

Three Chinese Guangxu Bowls at Heffel

Image 2. Some of my favourite Chinese porcelain items in the upcoming Heffel sale - a set of three Chinese café-au-lait glazed porcelain bowls. The bowls are dated to the Guangxu Period, which is 1875-1908.

These bowls have a very rare glaze and were acquired from Shanghai prior to the 1940's. They have been passed from a single family who now live in Toronto.

Chinese Bowl's Guangxu Reign Mark at Heffel

Image 2a. A view of one of the porcelain bowl's base and its six-character reign mark in underglaze blue. The mark reads 大清光緒年製, daqing kangxi nianzhi, which translates to 'made in the Guangxu reign of the Qing Dynasty'.

Large Satsuma Elephant at Heffel

Image 3. One of the really cool items in the sale is this massive Japanese porcelain censer. It is satsuma-style ware and made circa 1900. The censer is modelled after an elaborately decorated elephant with designs of figures on either side of the saddle. The censer is in the form of a temple situated on the elephant's back.

Detail of Large Satsuma Elephant at Heffel

Image 3a. One side of the elephant depicting rakans (Buddhist disciples) studying with young attendants.

Detail of Large Satsuma Elephant at Heffel

Image 3b. The other side of the saddle with Chinese scholars studying in a bamboo forest.

The most major Chinese piece Heffel found in Montreal is this impressive jade seal. It is one of the feature highlights of the April Asian online sale.

Examining a Large Chinese Jade Seal at Heffel

Image 4. A view of me studying the impressive jade seal at the Heffel Toronto office.

Large Chinese Jade Seal at Heffel

Image 4a. A view of the large and impressive jade seal. It depicts two fierce dragon back-to-back situated on a square-form base. The jade is from Khotan, which is a region in the Western part of China.

It was acquired in London from important dealer John Sparks in 1933 by Enid Strathearn Hendrie Owen, a major collector of Chinese jade carvings from the Neolithic Period to the Qing Dynasty. While the majority of her works were donated to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, this seal remained in her family and was passed down to her descendants in Quebec.

Detail of a Large Chinese Jade Seal at Heffel

Image 4b. Here's the carving of the seal's base - 五福五代堂寶 'Wu Fu Wu Tai Tang Bao', which translates to 'The Hall of Five Happiness and Five Generations.'

Earlier in January, I came across some incredible jade carvings from a Vancouver collection.

Chinese Jade Monkey Carving at Heffel

Image 5. This was my favourite jade carving from the Vancouver collection, a very well-carved model of a monkey, from the 18th Century.

Chinese Jade Three Rams Carving at Heffel

Image 6. Another of the jade carvings from Vancouver. This time it is a rare yellow jade carving of three rams from the 17th Century.

Anyways, I'll keep everyone posted about anymore Asian art highlights I have come across during my work at Heffel. As I mentioned I will be in NYC for Asia week from the 13th-22nd of March. Almost immediately afterwards, I will be visiting Vancouver at the end of March to finalize the April Asian sale.


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