Rare furniture and bronzes among highlights of Christie's London auction

By Bo Leung in London | | Updated: 2017-11-01 01:41

Rare furniture and bronzes among highlights of Christie's London auction

Christie's sale will be led by an extremely rare and important pair of huanghuali horseshoe-back armchairs dating to the Ming Dynasty with a price tag of around 1.2 million pounds. [Photo provided to]

Rare Chinese bronzes from the collection of a German refugee who fled Nazi Germany are among the highlights of a sale being held by Christie's in London later this month.

Michael Michaels, who was born in Germany in 1907, was penniless when he fled to Britain in 1933 after Adolf Hitler became chancellor.

Christie's said Michaels worked in a raincoat factory before starting his own business selling tents and camping equipment, but in the late 1960s he found his passion in archaic Chinese bronzes and became a self-taught expert.

Michaels died in 1986, but his wife Charlotte, who is now 100, and family wanted "these beautiful objects to find new homes in which they can be appreciated and loved", according to Christie's.

Among the top lots being offered in Christie's Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art sale on Nov 7 is a late Shang Dynasty (1,600-1,100 BC) bronze ritual wine vessel and cover, which is expected to sell for 120,000 pounds ($160,000).

Another highlight is a gilt-copper lobed pouring bowl, dating to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) which has a reserve price of 80,000 pounds.

"Most of the bronzes in the collection have either Christie's or Sotheby's provenance dating to the '60s, '70s and '80s," said Katie Lundie, Christie's associate specialist in Chinese ceramics and works of art, "This is really good for our collectors who will feel confident to see good provenance."

One of the most valuable lots is a rare pair of Ming dynasty horse-shoe back arm chairs which are expected to fetch around 1.2 million pounds.

The chairs, described by Christie's as "displaying the grace and finesse of Ming artistry", are among just eight known examples of the design.

Christie's had previously auctioned off a set of four similar chairs, formerly from the Robert H Ellsworth Collection in 2015. They were sold at the auction giant's New York branch for a record-breaking $9 million.

"Grace Wu Bruce is the world-renowned authority on Ming Dynasty furniture and these were sold by her," said Ivy Chan, head of Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art at Christie's, "She published these twice and they are also on one of the covers of her books. So, it is a very important and known pair of chairs."

Chan said the detailing of the chair - including the curve of the crest rail, the sweeping hook handles and three-part back splat - are unique features.

"Ming furniture is very timeless, very clean and with graceful lines," Chan said, "It goes with contemporary furniture and designs."

She expects a range of bidders, from European designers to classical Chinese traditional collectors,to bid for the pair of chairs.

Rare furniture and bronzes among highlights of Christie's London auction

A bronze ritual wine vessel and cover from the late Shang Dynasty (1600-1100BC) is expected to fetch an estimated 120,000 pounds at the Christie's Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art sale. [Photo provided to]

Rare furniture and bronzes among highlights of Christie's London auction

An early western Zhou Dynasty (12th Century BC) bronze ritual wine vessel is expected to sell for 50,000 pounds. [Photo provided to]

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