On The Square

A Revelation of Chinese Works of Art at Revere Auctions

By Anthony Wu

Aug 31,2023 | 15:10 EDT

With the Fall 2023 Asia Week New York just around the corner (September 14-22!) numerous American regional auction houses are gearing up for an action-packed Asian art season! One of the most exciting sales coming up takes place at Revere Auctions in St. Paul, MN. 

On September 12, Revere Auctions will be selling 165 lots of Asian art in their sale titled ‘Movement: Fine Chinese & Southeast Asian Art’. This sale includes mostly objects from China such as contemporary sculpture and paintings, classical furniture, domestic and export porcelain, snuff bottles, jade carvings and Buddhist artworks.

Many of the highlight pieces up for sale were previously in the collection of Bruce Dayton and his wife Ruth Stricker Dayton. Bruce Dayton (1918-2015) was a businessman and philanthropist whose family owns the Target Corporation. 

The major highlight of the sale at Revere Auctions is by far lot 16, a massive bronze sculpture by world-renowned Taiwanese sculptor Ju Ming 朱銘 (1938-2023). Titled ‘Single Whip’, this work is from his Tai-Chi series and features a stylized figure practicing one of the martial art’s movements. Tai-Chi is methodically deliberate, and incorporates self-defense, exercise and meditation. 

Ju Ming

Standing over 80 inches high, these types of large-scale sculptures by Ju Ming are seldom seen at auction in North America. Similar works are typically offered in East Asia, particularly Hong Kong, Beijing, Singapore and Taipei. 

Ju Ming has a background in woodworking, and despite being cast from bronze ‘Single Whip’ captures the essence of his works made from wood. He creates a stylized and block-like figure that is perfectly balanced through a counter-balance of diagonal lines, shifting weights and inertia. This sculpture exudes the elegance necessary for Tai-Chi and is estimated at $1,000,000-$1,500,000.

Another highlight at Revere Auctions is lot 23, a pair of Chinese horseshoe back chairs. Estimated at $15,000-$30,000, these chairs pay homage to examples from the 16th/17th Century of the late Ming Dynasty.

Pair of Huanghuali Chinese Horseshoe Back Chairs
They have very graceful crest rails that were crafted from multiple sections. The chairs are constructed of huanghuali 黃花梨 a rare type of rosewood from southern China that is now extinct. They are renowned for their beautiful wood graining and honey-orange tone.

Lot 31 is another item of interest in the sale of Asian art at Revere Auctions. This is a large silk embroidered tapestry featuring two confronting gold-threaded dragons flanking the flaming pearl of wisdom.

Lrg Chinese Qing Double Embroidery 1880-1910

Around the detailed dragons are smaller medallions with shou 壽longevity characters on a blue ground of clouds. The crashing waves below feature well-detailed Buddhist emblems. This attractive silk panel would have been the front cover of an altar table, probably for a shrine room in a large household. It is estimated at $9,000-$18,000.

Finally at Revere Auctions is lot 37, two massive Chinese porcelain planters. These planters are exceptionally well-crafted in their size and designs. The vessels are elegant in their forms with a body that is actually carved with waves before the fine turquoise ground is applied.

2 Massive 18th c. Chinese Porcelain Planters

2 Massive 18th c. Chinese Porcelain Planters2 Massive 18th c. Chinese Porcelain Planters
There is also a fantastic raised relief design of Buddhist lions playing with brocade balls on the surface. These beasts are painted with a complicated combination of blue and white enamels, and highlighted with copper red. The planters are estimated at $15,000-$30,000.

Click here to view the full catalog of Revere Auctions sale of Asian Art on September 12.
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Lot 16, Ju Ming – “Single Whip” Large Bronze Sculpture. Estimate $1,000,000-$1,500,000
Lot 23, Pair of Huanghuali Chinese Horseshoe Back Chairs. Estimate $15,000-$30,000
Lot 31, Large Chinese Qing Double Embroidery. Estimate 
Lot 37, Two Massive 18th Century Chinese Porcelain Planters. Estimate $15,000-$30,000