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  • Art & Splendor in the Ming Dynasty: The Rise of the Jade Artisan

    By Heather Herbstritt In 1368 A.D. the young soldier, Zhu Yuanzhang, soon to become Emperor, successfully invaded Beijing, ending decades of Yuan Mongolian rule with the establishment of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Spanning over 200 years, the dynasty was a period of artistic and cultural development centering around the rebirth of Chinese traditions in the wake of Mongolian and Manchu rulers. This inward focus on the revival of scholar-artists, court-defined styles, and painting, harkening back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279), led to an era of artistic splendor. Often commended for their porcelain, Ming dynasty artisans were also celebrated for their masterful jadewares. Although a long celebrated material in Chinese culture, the dawn of the Ming dynasty marked an important social shift for jade craftsmen. In previous centuries, jade carvers experienced a relatively low social status, characterized by lower commission rates and often unsigned carvings. However, new developments in the court-art structure, notably artisans being granted greater artistic freedom, elevated the social status of these craftsmen. The new esteem associated with the position incentivized jade artisans, contributing to the exponential production of carvings in Ming dynasty China. In tandem with this was the appearance of individual jade carvers’ signatures and a drastic change in the subjects of jade carvings. The inward focus of the Ming dynasty directed artisans' eyes to themes of everyday people and life. While primarily serving courtly patrons, the dynasty’s later economic growth created a new market for jade collecting, further driving artistic production and development. Resulting from this increased demand, the splendor of Ming jadewares grew immensely. The techniques were further refined and the types of carved objects expanded: dishes and cups, scholarly items, jewelry, and small figurines being popular examples. Illustrating the diversity and quality of Ming jades are over 15 lots to be offered in Oakridge’s auction Chinese Jade & Ceramics - No Reserve to be held June 2, 2023. Comprising jade bi, beast-form carvings, and plaques the sale offers a collector the opportunity to expand their collection of finer jades. To a collector of courtly or jewelry arts, the auction features an array of carved jade necklaces; splendorous in both execution and condition. Works Cited Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Ming dynasty." Encyclopedia Britannica, April 8, 2023. Department of Asian Art. “Ming Dynasty (1368–1644).” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2002). Hearn, Maxwell. Ancient Chinese Art: The Ernest Erickson Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. Lawton, Thomas, Shen Fu, Glenn D. Lowry, Ann Yonemura, Milo C. Beach. “Jade” in Asian Art in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery The Inaugural Gift. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1987. Yu, Ming. Chinese Jade. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

  • Balancing Manchu and Han Culture: Qing Imperial Textiles

    By Kendall Hanner With the fall of the long-reigning Ming dynasty and the establishment of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty came an onslaught of economic, political, and social transitions that redefined life in China throughout the 17th-early 20th centuries. The ruling regime navigated the pressures of legitimizing their dynastic reign as a continuity of the Mandate of Heaven, and maintaining a balance of Manchu culture and the native Han Chinese, resulting in centuries of reform and adaptation. Although unique court costume regulations were required for preceding dynasties, the Qing installed a staggering set of these regalia guidelines upon their ascent to rule. These costume regulations culminated in the 1748 review and edict, Huangchao liqi tushi; a Confucian-derived code of dress believed to link mortal, earthen vessels with universal forces. The edict enacted a strict social class order, which corresponded with a specific code of garment materiality, color, and motifs permitted to be worn. The Manchus believed that a full-scale integration of Han cultural continuity would result in the overthrow of their dynastic rule, but a fully Manchu cultural code would draw unrest from the native Han constituents. This considered, aspects of Ming dress were incorporated into Qing court attire, such as the dragon motifs and the traditional chao fu. While maintaining this aspect of Han continuity, the Qing restructured the traditional court robes to adhere to the Manchu semi-nomadic lifestyle by introducing hoof-style cuffs and an overall fit that accommodated their horse-riding culture. This design reform can be observed in this early 19th century blue-ground kesi robe, offered as lot 531 in Oakridge’s upcoming Chinese Textile sale on June 4th, 2023. The robe exemplifies this fusion of cultures through its inclusion of the central five-clawed long dragon with a flaming pearl, intricately depicted with goldwork, and the sporadic placement of bat motifs, signifying imperial continuity, within a Manchu-style garment framework. Although the Manchus accepted and recognized the various folk religions and philosophies, namely Confucianism and Taoism, the Qing heavily leaned into Tibetan Buddhism following their conquest of Tibetan and Mongolian territories. Visual motifs found within this offshoot of Buddhism permeated into Manchu imperial attire, despite Tibetan Buddhism occupying only a minority of religious identification amongst Qing constituents. One of the most frequently employed sets of Tibetan Buddhist motifs are the eight auspicious symbols, several of which can be observed in the embroidery of a 19th century red-ground dragon robe, offered as lot 502 in the upcoming Textile sale. Amongst the traditional Chinese shou longevity characters and brightly-colored clouds, one can find the flaming dharma wheel, a parasol, a pair of golden fish, lotus, and the endless knot. The result is a harmonious blend of Manchu and Han visual culture, producing its own hybrid of a unique Qing style. Works Cited Chan, Wing-Ming. “The Qianlong Emperor’s New Strategy in 1775 to Commend Late-Ming Loyalists.” Asia Major 13, no. 1 (2000): 109–37. Dreyer, June Teufel. "Multiculturalism in History: China, the Monocultural Paradigm." ORBIS 43, no. 4 (1999): 581. Gale Academic OneFile (accessed April 13, 2023). Elverskog, Johan. “Things and the Qing: Mongol Culture in the Visual Narrative.” Inner Asia 6, no. 2 (2004): 137–78. Thorp, Robert. Son of Heaven: Imperial Arts of China. Seattle, Washington: Son of Heaven Press, 1988. Vollmer, John E. “Clothed to Rule the Universe.” Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 26, no. 2 (2000): 13–105.

  • Early Chinese Flower Painting & Xie Gongzhan's 'Chrysanthemums'

    By Heather Herbstritt Offered on the third day, March 18th, of Oakridge’s Spring Fine Asian Art and Antiques auctions are a visually diverse and historically rich collection of Chinese paintings and calligraphies. Notable among them are a curated selection of exquisite flower paintings, consisting of handscrolls, hanging scrolls, and fans. Dating back to the 10th century, the long tradition of flower painting in China presents a fascinating perspective on the blossoming of Chinese art. Emerging as the initial ‘great’ masters of the flower painting genre were artists Huang Ch’üan (903-968) and Hsü Hsi (10th century). Huang Ch’üan fathered a floral style that valued an intensity of color, an adherence to realism, and an attention to precision. His technique consisted of carefully placing color within fine contour lines, this evolved among his apprentices into the ‘boneless’ style where color was applied freely and without the confines of a rigid outline. In comparison, the flowers populating the works of Hsü Hsi are defined by skillfully layered washes. Hsü composes his natural world without the use of line or color, rather swaths of ebony ink define the scene through skillfully built up layers. Although stylistically divergent, Huang and Hsü’s respective techniques continued to mold Chinese flower art and artists long after their lives. Their concern with capturing the reality and essence of flowers inspired artists to strive not solely for static realism but the emulation of the ephemerality of flowers and nature. Active centuries after these masters, the works of painter Xie Gongzhan (1885-1940), to be featured in Oakridge’s upcoming sale Chinese Paintings and Calligraphies, illustrate the continued impact of Huang and Hsü’s foundational techniques. Serving as a Professor of Chinese literature and poetry in universities across China, Gongzhan was an avid painter of flower scenes and subjects. His paintings can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Hong Kong Museum of Art; and have been featured in the auctions of Christie’s and Bonhams. Of the plethora of flower-and-bird scenes painted by Gongzhan, one of his most enduring subjects was the chrysanthemum. A long favored blossom in the history of Chinese flower painting, often associated with a scholar’s gardens and autumn, Gongzhan’s chrysanthemums are prized among his artistic oeuvre. Of the three Gongzhan paintings to be offered at Oakridge’s upcoming sale, Lot 489 features that characteristic flower, the chrysanthemum. In a marriage of styles, Gongzhan uses the fine line illustrations of Huang in the dark dry unfurling petals of the chrysanthemums; yet their plump dewy leaves lose any sense of line and instead adhere to Hsü’s style of building up form through layers of wash. These brush techniques in tandem with Gongzhan’s restrictive use of color, hints of white ghost along the petals and deep unsaturated greens capture rotund leaves, illustrate Gongzhan’s unique style that is enchantingly mindful of the genre’s history and yet completely individualized. References: Barnhart Richard M and Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York N.Y.). 1983. Peach Blossom Spring : Gardens and Flowers in Chinese Paintings. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Gong Zhan Xie." Accessed March 8, 2023. Harrist Robert E. Jr. n.d. “Ch'ien Hsuan's Pear Blossoms : The Tradition of Flower Painting and Poetry from Sung to Yuan.” Metropolitan Museum Journal Vol. 22 (1987).

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  • Oakridge Auction Gallery

    Chinese Jades and Ceramics - No Reserve June 2nd, 9am EST VIEW THE LOTS UPCOMING AUCTIONS Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art: No Reserve Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art: Session Two Chinese Textiles June 2nd, 2023 June 3rd, 2023 June 4th, 2023 VIEW ALL SELL WITH OAKRIDGE WHY US? NEWS & STORIES Early Chinese Flower Painting & Xie Gongzhan's 'Chrysanthemums' Global Artistic Essence: Zhang Daqian and Chinese Expressionism Buddhism & Beloved Bodhisattvas: The Origins and Art of Guanyin and Tara

  • Appraisal | Oakridge Auction Gallery

    APPRAISAL Oakridge offers personalized appraisal services tailored to your needs and the nature of your collection, timeline, and goals. We provide appraisals in each of our specialty departments as well as other areas of personal property and tangible assets. Appraisals are completed by AAA or ISA accredited members and are always USPAP compliant. If you are in need of a formal appraisal for any reason, contact us for a complimentary, confidential discussion to learn more about the process, timeline, and fees. Estate Appraisals are often required by the IRS for estate tax purposes. Formal appraisals can also be issued for estate planning and equitable division of assets. Insurance Retail replacement appraisals are used by insurance companies to provide your collection with sufficient protection in the event of loss, damage, or theft. And more Appraisals are required by the IRS for in-kind charitable donations, and are required by lending institutions when placing fine art collections as loan collateral. TALK TO A SPECIALIST TESSA LANEY Head of Business Development

  • Shipping Instructions | Oakridge Auction Gallery

    SHIPPING SHIPPING ADDRESS Property may be shipped to/picked up from: Oakridge Auction Gallery 44675 Cape Court, Suite #171 Ashburn, VA 20147 ​ Property may be delivered or collected in person by appointment during normal operating hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00AM - 4:00PM GENERAL INFORMATION Costs associated with the shipping and handling of sold lots are the responsibility of the buyer. If the buyer is not picking up directly from Oakridge Auction Gallery, they must select a shipper to pack and ship their lots. Oakridge Auction Gallery does not endorse any particular shipper and is not liable for any damage or loss due to negligence of a third-party shipping company. The buyer is responsible for handling all shipping details. ​ We ask that all clients email when setting up the shipment of their items. Please include in the email which shipping company you have authorized to collect your lots along with the invoice number and lot numbers. We will only release your purchases to the shipping company once we have received this authorization email. ​ Items must be shipped within two (2) weeks of payment; any items remaining in the company’s custody or control at the expiration of the two (2) weeks past payment will be subject to storage fees of no less than $50. All storage fees must be paid before lots will be released to the shipper. Any items remaining sixty (60) calendar days following the date when buyer made payment on an invoice will be considered abandoned property and be subject to resale or disposal with no refund. ​ Shippers must schedule their pick-up times with Oakridge Auction Gallery to ensure availability of staff onsite, and must provide a copy of the paid-in-full invoice. Shippers must sign a copy of the invoice and indicate any damage or imperfection seen on the item at time of pick-up. Framed items cannot be removed from their frame without a signed Release of Liability form, which must be returned to Oakridge Auction Gallery before lots can be released to the shipper. Buyers may access a printable version of this form HERE . Please understand that removing an item from its frame may damage the item or otherwise compromise the item's safety. PREFERRED SHIPPERS The UPS Store 0316* (Previously Store 4304) 11654 Plaza America Drive Reston, VA 20190 (703) 437-9300 *Please note that email is the preferred method of communication with this store. The UPS Store 7256* 45591 Dulles Eastern Plaza Ste 132 Sterling, VA 20166 (703) 537-8592 *Please note that email is the preferred method of communication with this store. Parcel Plus Cascades Marketplace 21010 Southbank Street Sterling, VA 20165 (703) 406-7505 Dream Big / 大梦想运输公司 21054 Mossy Glen Ter, Ashburn, VA 20147 (202) 403-1267 WeChat ID: blablaclub 我们是一家专注于亚洲艺术品运输公司。 我们提供个性化包装;定制木箱以及帮助办理清关手续。 我们主要运往 中国大陆、香港、台湾、新加坡、日本、韩国等亚洲国家以及新西兰、欧洲等地。 Pro Art Shipping 621 68th St Brooklyn, NY 11220 (347) 265-5667 WeChat ID: ProArtShipping Pro Art Shipping提供专业艺术品与古董运输服务。 我们价格实惠,并有多种运输选择 – USPS, EMS, UPS, FEDEX, DHL, 以及中国包清关服务。 Total Quality Logistics (513) 831-2600 Direct line to Isabell Vetter, Account Executive: (800) 580-3101

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