Overlooked Art From the last 900 years
Chinese bronze vases and incense burners made between 1200 AD and 1912 are very well known among collectors and dealers. Despite this awareness, examples made during the Song to Qing dynasty remained until recently largely under-appreciated when compared to other objects. In particular when compared to porcelain, jade, paintings, and furniture from the same periods. All of which have enjoyed massive amounts of interest over the last 20 years with ever escalating prices into the stratospheres.
While Archaic Bronzes of the Northern Shang and Western Zhou periods have remained among the most highly valued and best-known of China's history with this art form. Later Chinese bronze, including fine incense burners, vases and scholar's objects, have lagged sorely behind garnering significant interest from collectors in general by comparison. That is until very recently during the last 5 to 10 years.
Today, lovely incredibly well patinated Song bronzes that could be had 10 or 15 years ago for well under $300, even under $100, are now in the thousands. Extremely fine Ming and Kangxi examples can now realize over $150,000. They are however still a long way from catching up with objects in other categories from the same periods.
One of the biggest obstacles for those interested in the topic, there is a dearth of information out there. To help share our enthusiasm for later Chinese bronze art, we decided to put this page together.
So enjoy the images, priced Sotheby's catalog, and video! The majority of the bronzes below, after about the first 11 or so, are also priced from recent auctions.
All images below enlarge after being clicked.