Asian Art

Imperial Roundel Heads Sells at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions

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A fine circular silk embroidery of the type worn by a Ming dynasty Emperor which was discovered, by chance, during a free Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions valuation day, will join other important works of art in the 2nd December sale of 'Chinese Ceramics and Asian Works of Art' at the Donnington Priory saleroom in Berkshire.

Known as a kesi, 'cut silk', the embroidery was worn exclusively by the immediate imperial family on the chest, heart or back of their robes. The present example is decorated with a front-facing five-clawed dragon, a symbol steeped in Chinese tradition and mythology. It signifies goodness, blessing and strength, and is shown in pursuit of a flaming pearl which represents, wealth, good luck and prosperity, while the background comprises clouds and mountains, two of the 12 symbols of Imperial sovereignty. From a Surrey home, it is expected to sell for £8,000-10,000 in December [Lot 50].

A 19th Century blue 'clair-du-lune' glaze monochrome vase is estimated at £200-300. Reserved exclusively for Imperial porcelains when it was first developed, the 'clair-du-lune' glaze was one of the most successful monochrome glazes in the history of Chinese ceramics [Lot 97]. Other Chinese works of art include a 19th century celadon jade carving of Liu Hai's three-legged toad, which symbolises wealth and prosperity, estimated at £300-400 [Lot81]. and a carved ivory puzzle ball, estimated at £400,600 [Lot 29].

Topping the Japanese pieces in the sale is an early Edo lacquer Tansu, traditionally used as a mobile storage cabinet, estimated at £700-1,000 [Lot 205].

All lots in the sale are available to view on our website The auction will be held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury auctions Donnington Priory saleroom in Berkshire on Monday 2nd December with viewing from Friday 29th November (9.00am-4.00pm). Online bidding with no additional fee will be available at


Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions are a UK 'top 5' auctioneer of fine art and collectibles. As part of Noble Investments (UK) PLC we are the only UK stock-exchange listed firm of auctioneers and occupy the same stable as coin specialists Baldwin's, and Apex Philatelics. Established in 1759, we have the broadest and most regular calendar of specialist catalogued sales in the industry, numbering over 150 per annum, and provide vendors and buyers alike access to market-leading specialist advice in any number of collecting fields. We operate from salerooms in Donnington Priory (near Newbury), London's Mayfair, Bristol and Godalming.

Dreweatts - 2nd December 2013