Pax Romana Presents the Art of Ancient China

April 22, 2021  19:03  |  News

To collectors of ancient art, scholarship and provenance are the two most important points to consider before making a purchase. It is no coincidence that those same criteria are the business cornerstones of Pax Romana, Britain’s premier gallery and boutique auction house specializing in antiquities, cultural art and coins.

Pax Romana Presents the Art of Ancient China

Pair of Chinese Tang Dynasty terracotta female polo players, circa 618-907 AD. Photos – Pax Romana archive ©

Headed by Dr Ivan Bonchev (PhD, University of Oxford), Pax Romana organizes each of its auction events as a virtual journey through the past, with rare and stunning artefacts as its mile markers. On Sunday, May 2, Pax Romana will take collectors on a virtual voyage through Asia, starting with museum-quality art and relics of Indus Valley civilizations and time-travelling forward to the Crusader era. TL-tested Chinese terracotta, exquisitely carved Gandharan statues, Greco-Bactrian silver and Sassanian bronze are among the leading categories in this sale, with each item authenticated and certified by Dr Bonchev.

An important, very early bronze piece, a Chinese Western Zhou “you,” or ritual wine vessel with cover, dates to circa 1045-771 BC. To confirm its authenticity, it underwent an X-ray fluorescence analysis which showed the chemical composition to be consistent with the described period, with no modern trace elements detected. Following a long record of private British ownership, it comes to auction with a £20,000-£40,000 estimate.

Three exceptional relics of the Chinese Warring States era (circa 475-221 BC), all XRF-tested for authenticity, will be offered on May 2nd. One of them is silver and gold-inlaid cylindrical bronze box beautifully decorated with two highly prancing geometric griffins. Estimated at £10,000-£20,000, it will convey to the new owner with its XRF testing certificate.

Pax Romana Presents the Art of Ancient China

Huge Gandhara schist stone figure of standing Buddha dressed in flowing monastic robe. Kushan period, circa 75-451 AD, golden age of artistic production in the area.

Leading the outstanding examples of Ganharan sculpture from the Kushan period is a huge (1120mm/44.1in) schist stone figure of a standing Buddha with a circular halo, dressed in a flowing monastic robe. Weight: 60+kg/132+lbs. Estimate: £20,000-£40,000

An exciting selection of Chinese Tang Dynasty (circa 618-907) terracotta and ceramic figures includes subjects not often seen in the fine-art marketplace. Three lots, in particular, are worthy of special attention. All will convey with a Ralf Kotalla TL certificate and full report stating that their chemical composition is consistent with the period indicated in their respective catalogue descriptions. The largest of the group is a ceramic Bactrian (Mongolian) camel with the rider, 700mm by 560mm. The well-detailed desert beast displays the mane, beard and stature characteristic of its species, and is shown with his head thrown back and mouth wide open, as though bellowing. Formerly in an old British collection, the duo is estimated at £10,000-£20,000 estimate.

Arguably the finest ceramic in the sale is a magnificent Chinese Ming Dynasty cobalt blue and white wanli porcelain jar with a five-clawed-dragon motif continuously decorating the vessel. Its dimensions are 530mm by 430mm, and its line of provenance includes an old Somerset (England) collection. Estimate: £20,000-£30,000

Pax Romana is a member of the British Numismatic Trading Association and the Art Loss Register. All items sold by Pax Romana convey with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by Dr Ivan Bonchev. The company ships worldwide; packing is handled by white-glove specialists in-house.


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