Blog: Asian Art

Asian Art is still a big market for us in the world of Bishop & Miller. Whether you have a Chinese bowl or plate or a piece of artefact or painting it really is important to get it checked out as the Asian art and antiques market is a trend that we are just seeing excel and expect this to continue throughout 2022 and beyond.

 

The Asian continent really did produce some outstanding pieces and now they attract interest from across the globe and more importantly back on the Asian continent where we are finding a number of pieces are being bought and taken ‘back home’. So how did they get to us here? Well, all the different Asian art and artefacts made their way over here when they were purchased way back when by missionaries who bought them home from their travels and over time they have been handed down through the generations. The last few generations have decided to move them on at auction and so they are bought back by the Asian market and taken back across to Asia – so technically a full circle for the object! Through recent times these objects have become very sought after and awareness of their beauty and historic interest; the market has become very competitive.

 

There are certain pieces that attract more interest than others such as ceramics, furniture, paintings, jewellery, textiles and figures. With buyers and collectors really looking for that unique outstanding piece and style and the pieces that are really in demand are those that are in the styles and designs that were produced in China. Popular themes and designs that we see on objects from China include nature scenes, the use of bamboo, birds, flora and landscapes. The Chinese designed pieces really were made to reflect their history and even told the stories of their ancestors. The craftsmanship of the pieces is usually of a very high standard with very intricate designs. With colours used such as blues, whites and reds on ceramics and some pieces are carved using the utmost skills and detail, and when creating these pieces, I would imagine patience was key as the images depicted are so detailed!

 

Asian Art doesn’t only cover objects from China, although this very much is the prominent Asian market, it also covers objects from Japan, South Asia and South East Asia. With objects showcasing the various styles from the different countries and telling their historic stories the demand for objects from different countries very much varies.

 

Objects that we see from Japan tend to be more calligraphy pieces, swords, sculptures, armour etc. However, the latter is less seen in Suffolk (unless you have some Japanese Armour up in your loft!). Again, these pieces showcase Japanese history. However, it is well known in the antiques world that Japanese objects make up a very small piece of the world market as people are just not aware of it and its importance. We always do love to see it though when it does come in on a valuation as it is a fascinating look into their history and how they expressed it through art and artefacts. It does have a different look and feel to them and the most common Japanese items we see in our salerooms are Netsukes. These are usually carved and depict people, animals or scenes. We have seen Netsukes carved as rabbits, tigers, sumo wrestlers to name but a few. These works are so fascinating and beautifully carved and collectors love them. The most unusual and perhaps rarer netsukes out there are signed examples from the great craftsman.

 

When it comes to objects from South East Asia, it tends to follow a more religious or spiritual theme with Buddhas being used or made into sculptures or images from the Hindu faith and objects are very much based on tradition. We have recently seen a number of Buddha statues come through our valuation events and they are usually made from wood and we find that they are in a seated position. These command a very strong price at auction as religion still pays a major part in the purchase and also the historic interest in the object – just think who created it, who has touched it and where it has travelled through to get to us in Suffolk!

 

When it comes to objects from South Asia, in the antiques world this very much means objects from India. We find that these objects were often made from wood, clay or stone materials, with sculptures being very prominent. The fine and rarer Indian antiques are those that were from when the Maharajas ruled in the early 18th century and when the English East India Company forged the new political landscape. We have seen sculptures of horses, scenes and even battle scenes in our auctions.

 

So if you have something that you believe fits into the Asian Art, Antiques and Artefacts realm and you would like to find out its history and estimate at auction, come and see us where we will happily share with you our knowledge and expertise on your objects. We hold valuations every Friday at our Stowmarket salerooms between 9.30am and 3.30pm.

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