An upcoming Asian art sale will be led by an elaborate Chinese zitan tablescreen, which is expected to bring up to $60,000 on May 6.
The intricate tablescreen is carved from zitan, or red sandalwood, which is prized for its beauty in Chinese antiques. The magnificent item features an elaborate, carved ivory landscape scene depicting the Chinese Xian or Eight Immortals.
The Eight Immortals are a group of legendary beings in Chinese mythology. Each of the Immortals is said to hold powers which can bestow life or destroy evil. They are commonly depicted in Chinese art and furniture and still appear in popular culture today, notably as characters in the X-men comic book.
A spectacular item, the tablescreen is estimated at $40,000-60,000 and will feature as top lot in the auction.
Also featuring in the sale will be a stunning collection of inro, a traditional sealed case from Japan. The diverse selection contains a range of shapes and designs, each expecting to see bids in the region of $2000-3,000.
Inro have become popular collector's items, with Bonhams expecting its own Shibata Zeshin example to make £65,000-75,000 ($105,207-121,392) on May 17. The current world record for an inro is $265,250, which was set at Bonhams in 2011.
As is the case with the majority of Asian art sales at the moment, the auction can expect to see strong results.
With new wealth provided by the country's economic boom, China has become the largest art market in the world and auction rooms continue to see estimates smashed by Chinese bidders. The Chinese art and antiques sector reportedly grew by 64% in 2011.
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