Chinese ceramics and works of art

Chinese ceramics and works of art


Semley Auctioneers holds four sales annually of Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, and one area of collecting that has seen a remarkable rise in value since the turn of the millennium is that most revered of hardstones, jade. Jade, which encompasses nephrite and jadeite varieties, comes in a large range of colours, from black, brown, lavender, apple green, celadon and, most precious of all, white; Semley Auctioneers sold a 2-inch white jade pebble shaped snuff bottle for £ 23,000. Value depends on several factors including age, colour, translucency and, of course, quality of carving. Evenness of colour will also affect price, as seen in a small evenly coloured yellow jade shallow dish which brought £ 23,500 (although called ‘yellow’ the colour is actually a shade of green). Obviously the form of the piece is important, too; archaic designs are very sought after, evidenced by Semley Auctioneers selling a small archaistic ewer for £ 37,000 and a Qing Dynasty fang ding for £ 45,000. Animal groups are popular, too; a celadon ducks group made £ 35,000 and a phoenix went at £ 20,000. Jade is very hard and carving using the traditional method of abrasion with sand and tool was extremely laborious. The modern method of using rotary tools with diamond bits is much quicker and when executed well is hard to differentiate from the older method. A clue is sometimes found in the polish which is often very glossy on modern pieces.

Semley Auctioneers’ sales are held on Saturdays and are illustrated on no less than four separate websites, with two simultaneous live bidding platforms. Enquiries regarding consigning items for sale or valuation, either at home, at the salerooms, or at the Wimborne office should be directed to Imogen Wilby at the main Wiltshire saleroom office.

For valuations and collections in the Home Counties, London or at the South Kensington office, please contact: Simon Pearce on 020 7591 0159.

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