Asia Week New York: ‘tons’ of unprovenanced antiquities at auction

This year, Asia Week, a ‘celebration of Asian art’ in New York, comprises 43 international art and antiquities dealers, 15 auction houses (including Bonham’s, Christie’s and Sotheby’s), and 17 museums and cultural institutions (via @ChasingAphrodit).

The Asia Week New York Association’s participants now sell thousands of artworks and antiquities worth hundreds of millions of dollars at each year’s fair.

Boring number summary

Forty-one of the forty-three dealers have displayed three exemplary pieces on AWNYA’s website; one has displayed one piece; and another has displayed two pieces. So, there are 126 pieces in total; but, as a precaution (as I explain at the bottom), I’ve excluded 77 as “antiques” or “artworks”. So, there are 49 objects for sale that are exemplary of antiquities dealers’ holdings.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a specialism in a region, period or style, so I can’t judge how problematic it is to lack information about the origins of two-hundred-year-old pots or domestic decorations.

However, none of the ancient artefacts has any evidence of a legal source. I am not saying that they are illegal, but I am intensely curious why sellers do not provide evidence of a legal source for their antiquities and why buyers do not require evidence of a legal source.

Fun follow-ups

Still, I find sixteen [lots] of the dealers’ objects to be alarming, and I believe they urgently need to provide convincing evidence of the sources of their material. I will present those sixteen [the worst] in follow-up posts.

Cultural property of unknown origins, in need of urgent clarification

Immediately troubling antiquities

Christophe Hioco has: a sandstone statue from India [WTF1], a ‘[r]are Gandhara[n] Stupa’ [WTF2], and a bronze ewer from Vietnam [WTF3].

KooNewYork has a pair of carvings of temple attendants from Korea [WTF4].

Carlton Rochell Asian Art has: a cloth from Tibet; the head of a Bodhisattva from Pakistan [WTF5]; and an ‘Angkor Wat-style‘ Khmer chariot finial from Cambodia [WTF6].

John Siudmark Asian Art has: a sculpture from ‘Kashmir‘ [WTF7]; a Buddhist plaque from either ‘Bihar [in India] or Burma[/Myanmar]‘ [WTF8]; and a ‘fragmentary‘ ‘Kushan’ sandstone figure [WTF9].

The Dalton Somaré Gallery has a bronze rhyton from Afghanistan [WTF10]; a terracotta from ‘Kashmir‘ [WTF11]; and a Buddha head from Afghanistan [WTF12].

Jonathan Tucker and Antonia Tozer have a Bodhisattva from Vietnam; and the head of a Gandharan Bodhisattva [WTF13].

Wei Asian Arts have (an artwork from Russia;) a shaman figurine from China; and a standing Buddha from China [WTF14].

The Nancy Wiener Gallery has (an artwork from India,) a figurine from Tibet, and the head of a Gandharan Bodhisattva [WTF15].

The Xanadu Gallery has a Buddha from Tibet, a door jamb from India [WTF16], and a Hindu sculpture from Nepal.

Lingering doubts

Walter Arader Himalayan Art has three statues, one from Nepal and two from Tibet.

Galerie Jacques Barrere has (one antique from China,) one statue from China and one statue from Tibet.

Dr. Robert R. Bigler has one Chinese antiquity and two ‘Tibeto-Chinese’ statues [WTF17] [WTF18].

Buddhist Art has one Baphuon-style Khmer statue [WTF19], one Bayon-period Khmer statue from ‘an old German collection‘ [WTF20], and one statue from China.

Carlo Cristi has a statue from Nepal, a tunic from ‘Central Asia (possibly Uzbekistan)‘, and an illuminated manuscript folio from Tibet.

Nicholas Grindley Works of Art, Ltd. has (two antiques and) a statue from China.

Nayef Homsi has (two watercolour paintings and) a statue from India.

Andrew Kahane, Ltd. has three antiquities from China.

Kapoor Galleries, Inc. has (two artworks from India and) a statue from Tibet.

J. J. Lally and Co. have three antiquities from China.

Zetterquist Galleries have three antiquities from China.

Hiroshi Yanagi Oriental Art has (two pieces of antique art from Japan and) a seated Buddha from Japan.

Excluded antiques and artworks

I’ve excluded seventy-seven objects that could be classed as (for example, household) “antiques” and “artworks” on the precautionary principle (that they definitely were or easily could be from legal sources). Eleven were in the collections above; sixty-six are in the collections below.

Art Passages have three watercolour paintings from India.

Asian Art Studio has three antiques from China.

Bachmann Eckenstein has three antiques from Japan.

Prahlad Bubbar has three watercolour paintings from India.

Ralph M. Chait Galleries, Inc. has three antiques from China.

China 2000 Fine Art has three antiques from China.

The Chinese Porcelain Company has three ink artworks from China.

Dai Ichi Arts, Ltd. has three ink artworks from China (by Li Hui Sheng).

Carole Davenport has an antique; a contemporary artwork; and a medieval vase from Japan, which was ‘formerly in the private collection of Hoshino Soichiro’ and first published in 1979. That isn’t much information, but it’s more than Carole Davenport/Asia Week listed on their webpage; still, I’ve treated it as a safe object.

Flying Cranes Antiques, Ltd. has three provenanced antiques.

Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch, Ltd. have three watercolour paintings from India.

Michael C. Hughes, LLC has three antiques from China.

Jadestone has three antiques from China.

Kaikodo, LLC has three antiques apparently from China (though it’s listed under both Chinese and Japanese art).

The Kang Collection has an antique, an old artwork and a contemporary piece from Korea.

Lesley Kehoe Galleries have three contemporary artworks from Japan.

Joan B. Mirviss, Ltd. has two artworks and one stoneware vessel.

Susan Ollemans has one piece of jewellery from China and two from India.

Santos-London has three antiques from China.

Scholten has three artworks from Japan.

M. Sutherland Fine Arts, Ltd. has three contemporary artworks from China.

The Erik Thomsen Gallery has three contemporary artworks from Japan.

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