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Carved Qing Dynasty Throne Chair to Highlight Gordon S. Converse Internet Auction

by Special to WorthPoint (07/09/13).

This Zitan wood Chinese emperor’s throne chair, probably from the middle of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), is expected to be the top lot in an upcoming pair of Internet-only auctions, scheduled for Saturday, July 20, by Gordon S. Converse & Co.

WEST CHESTER, Pa. – A pair of Internet-only auctions, scheduled for Saturday, July 20, by Gordon S. Converse & Co., will feature scores of Asian antiques and arts.

Internet bidding will be facilitated by LiveAuctioneers and Artfact, while phone and absentee bids will also be accepted.

The first session, beginning promptly at 11 a.m., will feature 136 lots of antiques, including fine art, period furniture, vintage clocks and decorative accessories. Then, with little or no break in the action, the second session will commence, offering 174 lots of important Asian antiques and arts.

“We’re doing it this way—splitting it up into two sessions—so that people will be able to know what’s coming up as the day progresses,” said Gordon Converse of Gordon S. Converse & Company. “We expect the Asian portion of the sale will attract good amount of attention, and we wanted all the items in that category to be grouped into one session. It’ll just make things easier.

“For the first time in one sale we have been fortunate to gather up a collection of better Asian antiques, with great variety and depth, to go with a fine selection of porcelains, artwork and furniture,” added Converse. “We expect this sale to do well. It won’t feature as many lots as our March sale, but the quality is there. We expect to attract high-end buyers of Asian antiques.”

One of the items in session two is an antique Chinese carved throne chair believed to have been made in the middle of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It is being re-offered from the March sale because the buyer in that auction did not make payment on his winning bid of $80,000.

“After the sale, (the winning bidder) took photos of the chair and said he’d be back the following day to pay for it, but he never came back,” Mr. Converse said. “Since he is a registered bidder with us through LiveAuctioneers from a previous sale, we feel (he) should be bound by the terms and conditions of the sale. So, we are currently exploring legal action against him.”

The throne chair is a highly sought after item by collectors of antique Chinese furniture. It was considered the highest form of chair for its time, as only emperors were permitted to sit in it. It is replete with delicate and sophisticated carving, and was crafted from zitan wood, which is known for its strength and durability. It is bed-like in shape, in accordance with Chinese custom.

This watercolor painting signed by Li Kuchan (1899-1983), a master of traditional Chinese free idea painting is available.

These late 19th-century Qing Dynasty Chinese horseshoe-back folding chairs have intricately carved back and arm rests.

Additional Chinese furniture pieces will include an early Qing Dynasty altar table with the top supported by pierce carved brackets, 70 ½ inches by 19 ½ inches by 34 inches, in well-worn and apparently original condition (but surface-cleaned with oils); and a pair of late 19th-century Qing Dynasty horseshoe-back folding chairs with arm rests and intricately carved backs.

Chinese artwork will include a watercolor rendering with rural scenery, signed by Li Keran (1907-1989), the renowned contemporary Chinese painter and art educator, whose style emulates both ancient and modern masters; and a watercolor signed by Li Kuchan (1899-1983), a great master of the traditional Chinese free idea painting. The work is 37 inches by 16 inches.

The sale will feature two watercolor paintings (one of them a scroll) by Zhang Daqian, the artist also known as Chang Dai-chien who is heralded as one of China’s most gifted artists. His output spans the early Chinese Masters to later works showing a more Western influence. He is known for his fakes of works by Chinese Masters that are indistinguishable from the originals.

Other Chinese offerings will include a pair of Cantonese famille rose vases, decorated with a Chinese opera story, each one about 35 ½ inches tall; one lot consisting of 13 pieces of Chinese currency, all dated 1953; and a carved green jade seal with a set of eight jade plaques. Bidders take note: the box lid does not fit perfectly and it is believed to be a replacement lid.

This early, 34-inch banjo clock (circa 1802-1805) in the original crossband style, attributed to Simon Willard.

This cabinet, hand-painted all over with floral images, has a single drawer set above a one-door cabinet on cabriole legs.

American furniture pieces will include a solid walnut tilt-top candle stand with inlay, 28 inches tall, probably from eastern Maryland; and a cabinet that has been festively hand-painted all over with floral images. It has a single drawer set above a one-door cabinet, on cabriole legs.

Only a half dozen or so clocks will be sold, a fact that will feel strange to fans of Gordon S. Converse & Co., which built its reputation largely on the sale of rare and antique timepieces. One lot, though, is certain to attract bidder attention: a 34-inch early banjo clock in the original “crossbanded” style with mahogany carcass, all attributed to Simon Willard (circa 1802-1805).

Rounding out just a few more of the sale’s expected highlights is a framed and matted antique map, signed by the noted London engraver and prolific map maker John Lodge (1754-1796), measuring 13 inches by 20 inches; and not one but two medical (or hospital) lamps.

For more information about this auction, call 610.722.9004, e-mail to Todd Converse at Todd@ConverseClocks.com or Gordon Converse at Gordon@ConverseClocks.com, or visit the Gordon S. Converse & Co. website.


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