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Hess receives strong prices on ivory at Orientalia auction
By Carole Deutsch

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Hess Fine Auctions presented a 108-lot Orientalia and Tribal Art auction in an online-only venue through on Feb. 22. The sale was composed of archaic period Chinese bronzes, Japanese metalwork, jade, ivory, art pottery, porcelain and paintings, as well as some Native American artifacts.

Joshua Luvecky, assistant auction director, commented that they were pleased with the outcome of the sale.

“Even with the news of possible changes in governmental regulations concerning the sale of ivory, the ivory sold well and the market is still quite strong.

A set of antique Japanese carved ivory okimonos that were displayed on a tiered wire inlay wood base depicted the Seven Lucky Gods, including Fukuroku, god of happiness, wealth and longevity; Bishamon, god of warriors; Hotei, the fat and happy god of abundance and good health; Daikokuten, god of wealth, commerce and trade; Jurojin, god of longevity; Ebisu, god of fishers or merchants; and Benzaiten, goddess of knowledge, art, beauty and music. The seven happy idols brought the happy price of $1,875.

A large pair of carved ivory Asian statues depicted an Emperor and Empress seated on finely detailed dragon bird thrones. They were situated on carved wood plinths, stood approximately 13 inches tall, and achieved $2,250.

An antique Korean 10-panel folding screen that was hand painted and laid to paper was set in a silk brocade border. The 14-foot screens portrayed a myriad of landscape, wildlife and sea life themes, along with dragonfly, Lotus flowers and birds. The catalog noted that the screen, which was approximately 59 ½ inches wide, would make an ideal room divider. It came from the estate of a prominent Florida attorney and sold for $2,500.

An original stone lithograph, printed on handmade Balinese paper by Claes Oldenburg, Ltd (Ed 16/34, 1975), illustrated a stylistic teapot. Claes Oldenburg (American, born 1929) is best known for his public art installations that typically featured very large replicas of everyday objects. The framed print was accompanied by a letterhead copy for the piece from the desk of printmaker and publisher Tatyana Grosman (1904-1982), founder of Universal Limited Art Editions, and brought $3,750.

A work of art by John Way, the Chinese American abstract expressionist primarily known as Wei Letang (1921-2012), was titled Blue Exuberance and realized $2,125. The oil-on-paper, dated 1971, was done in the artist’s freeform splash paint technique and was likely framed by the artist himself.

A large painted silk scroll was signed by the artist Zhao Zi Yong / Zhong Mu in black calligraphic lettering with red seals and was dated 1356 from the Yuan Dynasty. It was an elaborate portrayal of an emperor’s caravan with staff bearers, attendants, falconers and riders mounted on elephants. The procession scene was presented in a bamboo style gilt wood frame, approximately 120 inches long by 25 ¼ inches high, and brought $3,375.

Prices reflect a 25 percent buyer’s premium.

Hess Fine Auctions is a division of Hess Fine Art, the landmark Florida watch and jewelry company. Jeffrey Hess is one of the world’s foremost experts on high-end quality timepieces and vintage watches, and is the author of the Schiffer Publishing Best Seller, The Best of Time Rolex Wristwatches - An Unauthorized History.

Hess Fine Auctions plans to hold the Orientalia auction every other month. “Although the goal of the sale is to primarily present Asian art and artifacts, the next online auction, which will be held in April, will also feature a selection of antique guns,” Joshua Luvecky said. “They have been amassed over the years, and it is time to offer them for auction.”

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