An extremely rare Imperial Chinese twelve-leaf screen made up of 64 porcelain panels will be highlight at Bonhams Fine Chinese Art sale in London on May 15. A 200-year-old decorative screen originally owned by a Chinese emperor which depicts tales from Chinese mythology is estimated to sell for £800,000 to £1.2 million ($1,35 to $2 million).
This so-called “Immortals” screen dates from the Jiaqing reign period (1796-1820) and symbolizes good fortune and longevity. The stunning 12ft wide screen would have sat behind the emperor’s throne as a sign of power and luxury in the late 18th and early 19th century Chinese court. Each of the twelve leaves is finely carved from huanghuali, framing the porcelain plaques and set within the massive tiered huanghuali dais. Huanghuali wood, one of the most luxurious close-grained sub-tropical hardwood timbers used from the Ming dynasty onwards, was highly sought after for its rich yellow-hued grain. The beautiful plaques also show carefully-painted images of flowers, birds and other symbols.
Asaph Hyman, Director of Chinese Art, commented: “The rare screen is a statement of Chinese Imperial art at its zenith demonstrating Qing dynasty master-craftsmanship. As it was made for a Qing Palace, no cost was spared in its production making use of the finest materials and artisan skills”.
This collectible has been owned by an Italian family for the last 40 years, who are now selling it through Bonhams.