On The Square

Highlights from Asia Week New York 2016

By Anthony Wu, Asian Art Specialist and Consultant

Mar 18,2016 | 10:00 EDT

We’re almost at the end of another exciting Asia Week in New York City! Asia Week is the annual March pilgrimage to Manhattan for Asian Art lovers. From the 10th-19th visitors were able to visit exhibitions, lectures and auctions. The participants included over ten museums, five auction houses, and at least forty Asian Art dealers.

A guardian kings head, part of “Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan” at Asia Society. Credit Byron Smith for The New York Times 

Some quick highlights include the transcendent exhibition “Kamakura: Realism and Spirituality in the Sculpture of Japan” at the Asia Society. The show features over thirty top-quality Buddhist sculptures from the Kamakura Period (1185-1333). At the Rubin Museum, visitors will see the new and improved “Buddhist Shrine Room” and the contemporary artist Genesis Bryer P-Orridge “Try to Altar Everything”, a unique expression of Himalayan religion and modern art.

Visitors exploring the Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room installation in the Sacred Spaces exhibition. Photo source: AsiaWeekNY.com
On the auction side of things, the three major houses, Bonhams, Christie’s and Sotheby’s all have multiple sales ranging from Chinese, Japanese, Himalayan and South Asian works of art. Prices have been strong, especially for items that have outstanding provenance and are of exceptional quality.
On the 14th of March, Bonhams sold a Chinese Very Pale Green Jade Archaistic Vase and Cover from the Qianlong Period (1736-1795) for 1,025,000 USD, over ten times its estimate of 80-120,000 USD! It came from the estate of Joanna Lau Sullivan, a businesswoman who developed the ‘Foodland’ and ‘Sack and Save’ grocery store chain. The vase is of exceptional size, colour and carving, and showcases the exceptional craftsmanship from the 18th Century Imperial workshop.

A Fine Very Pale Green Jade Archaistic Vase and Cover, Qianlong Period (1736-1795), 10 3/4 inches high
From the collection of Joanna Lau Sullivan sold at Bonhams New York March 14, 2016 for 1,025,000 USD

Chinese furniture has also been extremely popular as evidenced by strong sale results at Sotheby’s. Their sale of 63 lots of classical Chinese furniture from the Collection of Reverend Richard Fabian sold for over 5.5 million USD on the 15th of March. This has a lot to do with the desirability of items crafted from rare huanghuali wood (yellow flower pear wood), an extinct tropical hardwood originally from Hainan province.