Friday, 26 February 2016

Liu Yu (aka Emperor Houfeidi) - The Boy Terror

Some quick facts about this emperor:

Ø     Ascended the throne at the tender age of 10.
Ø     Hailed from the Liu Song Dynasty.
Ø     Derived pleasure from killing people.

Ø     He was killed in a drunken stupor by an assassin at he age of 15.

Who was he?

Compiled from Infamous Chinese Emperors

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

2-Day Specials and Exhibition Details!

Visit us at the Amcorp Mall Weekend Flea Market and you just might walk away with any of the five items below for RM280 each!
27th Feb (Saturday) – LG Floor (near Giant supermarket)
28th Feb (Sunday) – 1st Floor (in front of Timepiece Service Centre)
*Please note that there is only ONE of each item for sale at RM280.

For those who wish to visit our gallery, please feel free to drop by for our next exhibition. Details are below:
Date: 5th March 2016 (Saturday)
Time: 8pm – 10pm
Add: Unit B-3-02 (3rd Floor), Neo Damansara, PJU 8/1, Damansara Perdana, 47820, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

A map to our gallery is available at


May Naik
018 3867939

Friday, 19 February 2016

Can You Spot A Fake Antique? by Steve Chao (27 Nov 2015)

It's a stormy autumn day in Hong Kong, but above the howling monsoon winds, there is a familiar noise in this Asian financial heartland - the sound of millions of dollars changing hands.
There are great forgeries out there these days... while we can sniff out most of them, there are some that can fool even the best of us
Mason Wang, Art dealer and collector
In a packed exhibition hall, some of China's wealthiest have gathered and are jostling for space as they engage in furious bidding, their eyes fixed on the auctioneer on a podium at the front.
"We have five million," says the dapperly dressed man, "Now we have six. Do we have seven? Eight million from the lady on the left."
This is Sotheby's autumn auction, and on sale are some of the finest Chinese antique furniture and ceramics.
Last year, buyers from China spent more than $5.5bn dollars on Chinese arts and antiques.
Nicolas Chow, Sotheby's Asian art expert, says the country's nouveau riche have fast become their most important clientele.
"This is the real beginning; it's the beginning of a totally new era. Now I think you know China is centre-stage."
Despite a recent economic slowdown, China is spinning out new millionaires at a rate far outpacing the United States. In 2014, the Asian powerhouse added two million millionaires - a 50 percent increase from the previous year.
And Chow says many of those with deep pockets are turning their attention to "reclaiming a bit of their past" -  in other words, spending big bucks on Chinese antiquities.
The explosion of interest has been followed by a darker development in the antiques industry, however, a wave of forgeries that are flooding the market.
"Virtually 99.9 percent of what you see in the art world is wrong," says Chow. "Most of what we see  ... I get maybe 20, 30 emails jam-packed with images of porcelain landing in my mailbox, and all of it is fake."
Besides employing a team of experts, Sotheby's relies heavily on the confirmed history of an item, something called "provenance", to help to authenticate items.
But Chow says many forgeries are slipped on to the market through "lower-end" auction houses.
These dyes, and chemicals were found in a workshop of a master forger in Jingdezhen, China. Artisans find all types of ways to make new pieces look old to fool antiques experts [Al Jazeera]

Just down the road in Hong Kong, we join Mason Wang, a dealer and collector for 40 years. He is at a preview session at a smaller venue, hunting for deals.
Instead of guaranteeing the legitimacy of an item, most auction houses offer sessions before an auction to allow the public to inspect the pieces on sale. It is up to the buyer then to determine if a piece is real or fake. There are no returns.
"This one doesn't look right," says Wang, as he inspects a vase from the Song dynasty. "The shoulders are much larger than the base."
In half an hour, Wang finds half a dozen items that he suspects are not authentic.
The problem, he says, is that there are few non-invasive scientific tests that can definitely prove the age of an item. That leaves experts relying on their knowledge of the weight, colour and feel of an object. At times, he says, even the experts disagree on whether an item can be trusted.
"There are great forgeries out there these days," says Wang. "While we can sniff out most of them, there are some that can fool even the best of us."
This factory in Jingdezhen makes both replicas and illegal forgeries. Many craftsman here are involved in both the legal and illicit ceramic trade [Al Jazeera]

The fakers and forgers
When it comes to ceramics, the epicentre of forgery production is in a town called Jingdezhen. Located in southeastern China, Jingdezhen has a long history in the porcelain trade. For centuries, emperors sought out craftsman here to create items for the imperial court.
More than 100,000 people in the city are still employed by the ceramics industry, spinning out replicas from bygone eras.
Replicas are legal. Trying to pass off a new piece as an antique is fraud.
To find the forgers, we enlist the help of William Tseng, a former banker who has spent a fortune collecting ceramics.
"Every piece of ceramic, once it's created, is an art piece in its own right," says Tseng. "But whether I’m going to value the object itself as an art piece or I’m going to value the object as a piece of history is a different story. No one wants to be fooled."
A forgery sits half-finished in a workshop in Jingdezhen [Al Jazeera]
We arrange to meet an insider who has promised to introduce us to the best forgers in the city. A man greets us outside a compound in the city’s narrow backstreets. We soon learn that he is a government official, working for the relics bureau.
"Here in Jingdezhen, we make really good Ming and Qing era fakes," the man tells us as he takes us to meet some forgers
At one workshop, run by three brothers, we're shown a blue Ming period vase.
"It’s a prototype," says one brother. "We recently sold the best copy, a red vase, at a small auction in the US - it went for more than $480,000."
With a magnifying glass, Tseng looks over the blue vase. He finds it is of such quality that it would fool most people. "It’s truly amazing. From the glaze, the colour, the shape, I can't tell the difference with the real thing."
The brothers go on to tell us how a US collector commissioned them to create the fake. They used an original from the collector's estate as a reference.
"We made three or four copies. And he took the best one. The collector then simply swapped his original for the fake, and put it on auction as the real thing."
That apparently is how many of their clients operate.
"We have many of our items in auctions worldwide," says another brother. "With this latest one, we made $80,000."
But with art prices surging, the forgers are no longer content with a fixed price. Now they want a cut of the profits from the auction sale price.
A fake Ming dynasty porcelain bowl sits half-finished on a worktable [Al Jazeera]

Back in Hong Kong, Nicolas Chow, the Asian art expert for Sotheby's, says that greed is fuelling the forgery industry - not only on the part of forgers, but also of collectors.
"You have to understand that if someone shows you a piece and goes 'OK, Sotheby’s sold this one for a hundred. I've got the same, I'm selling you for 20', it's greed to try and think that you are going to get this extraordinary bargain."
Mason Wang, an 84-year-old art dealer and collector, blames all facets of the antiques business - from collectors who don’t do enough research before buying, to auction houses who keep silent about items they know are fakes - on the Chinese government which, for the most part, does not go after "antique fraudsters", despite it being illegal.
"To stop that happening you need to open up everything, you want to have a transparent society. And, then we establish order, we establish law to punish people who cheat," says Wang.
But as the frenzied pace of buying continues, Wang doubts if there is truly a will to clean up the market. He, for the most part, has stopped buying items. "There is just too much out there that you can't trust," he says.
It truly is a case of buyer beware.
Collector and dealer Mason Wang inspecting an ancient Hong Shan Jade Pig Dragon sculpture. Many contest whether his purchase is real, but Mason believes it is [Al Jazeera]

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Friday, 12 February 2016

Qing Bamboo Brushpot Bought for £700 Makes £58,000 in Dorchester Auction by Roland Arkell (19th Nov 2015)

A Qing bamboo brushpot depicting the goddess Yaochi Jinmu sold for £58,000 at the sale titled ‘In Pursuit of the Scholar’s Spirit’ at Duke’s of Dorchester.

A Qing bamboo brushpot depicting the goddess Yaochi Jinmu sold for £58,000 at the sale titled ‘In Pursuit of the Scholar’s Spirit’ at Duke’s of Dorchester 

The primary draw to the regions – rather than London – during last week’s glut of Asian works of art sales was the auction titled ‘In Pursuit of the Scholar’s Spirit’ conducted by Duke’s of Dorchester.
The opening 159 lots comprised a private collection of Chinese and other East Asian art formed by a member of the Oriental Ceramics Society from the 1950s-90s. Surviving receipts suggested they had been acquired primarily through two London dealers - Spink & Son and later Gerard Hawthorn.
A combination of provenance, modest pricing (and the request for deposits from phone and online bidders) prompted a strong attendance in the room and occasionally feverish bidding.
This 4½in (11cm) high, 18th century bamboo brush pot attracted multiple bidders.
The carving was exceptional and the subject matter highly auspicious, depicting the goddess Yaochi Jinmu, or Queen Mother of the West holding court within her palace on the mythological Mount Kunlun.
An invoice from Spink showed that the price in 1984 had been £700.
At the auction on on November 12, it was hammered down to a Chinese private buyer in the room at £58,000.
The buyer's premium was 22%.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Happy New Year and See You Again Soon!

Dear readers,

I'd like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to you all for all your support! It's because of you that I continue to blog. I hope you have found my posts helpful. Here's wishing all my Chinese readers a very Happy New Year! May the year of the monkey be another amazing year filled with happiness, health and wealth for us all! I'll be back on 12th February 2016:) Till then, take care and hope you all have a great weekend!

Warm regards

May Naik

A Fine Painting Featuring Two Monkeys On a Tree

Tuesday, 2 February 2016