Page 9 - Marlborough Living Nov/Dec 2019
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                MA SAN AUCTION
We have probably all heard of the recent strengthening of the Chinese market in antiques, it therefore stands to reason that, whether buying or selling, having an expert on our doorstep is a very positive thing. We had a chat to Leon Ma of Ma San Auction about the challenges and rewards of dealing in this market.......
Chinese works of art and design are a background to our homes, from the 18th century inclusion of Chinoiserie to
the present-day repro Dogs of Fo, we probably all have something with Chinese heritage at home – what is currently of interest in the market? We have found that decorative art is selling well in our recent sales and the majority of our buyers are abroad. However, we have also sold some beautiful statement pieces such as Pottery Tang Dynasty horses and 19th century blue and white porcelain locally in Bath.
How often do you travel to China? Not as much as I’d like to! We do have contacts in Hong Kong and China who buy and sell through us and we keep in touch via video calls and discuss the market occasionally.
In the last year is there one item that you have sold that is particularly memorable? Personally, I love classical Chinese furniture. When a pair of Qing dynasty hardwood chairs came into us, I loved them at first sight. They sold for £24,000 to
a Hong Kong buyer. We have a similar period ‘Luohan’ bed coming up in our next sale in which we are expecting to do very well – It was purchased and shipped back to the UK from Hong Kong in the 1980’s by a lady who lived and worked there.
With your new premises in Bath are you finding that
people come to you from other areas to benefit from your specialisation? Many residents from Bath who have lived in Hong Kong, Singapore or China, or have family who worked in Asia in the past come into us. Almost all of them have something from their travels whether its porcelain, embroidery or jade,
they are interested to know the current market value. We have consigned items which were purchased in the 70’s in Hong Kong for under £100 and have sold for thousands. The most interesting was a local family whose great-great-grandfather worked as a Consul-General in China in the 1890’s and brought back some items in the 1920’s – a painting on silk of Guanyin sold for nearly £4000.
And finally, if there is one ‘lost’ item that you would love to find what would that be? There are undoubtably some hidden treasures around which I would love to find! An item which I thought I would never see here which we have in our showroom is a pair of floor tiles – not very exciting until we found out they were used in the Imperial courts and palaces in China during
the Ming and Qing dynasties. They are called ‘Golden Bricks’ produced in Suzhou and take months to complete each tile. Each one is carefully selected and then stamped with the place and date of manufacture and the name of the inspector. The pair we have read ‘The eighteenth year of Emperor Qianlong’ which is 1753- that is amazing and I am sure there is more to discover!
    in Bath
  A Chinese Qing Dynasty white jade carving of conjoined rings surmounted by Chilong. SOLD £8500
A pair of Chinese Yongzheng period Famille rose tea cups. SOLD £13,400
A Chinese Han Dynasty Bronze bear support. SOLD £3100
A Chinese Ming Dynasty bronze seated Buddha. SOLD £4800
   A pair of Chinese Tang Dynasty Sancai glazed porcelain camels. SOLD £11,600
2 Princes Buildings, George Street, Bath, BA1 2ED
Pair of Zitan horseshoe-back armchairs, Quanyi, Qing Dynasty. SOLD £24,000
Tel: 01225 318587
 Accepting consignments for future sales

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