Asian Art in London (AAL) is now in its 21st edition and the event runs from 1 to 10 November in locations across London. This year 41 dealers and galleries from the UK and overseas are showcasing a range of works of art from South, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, China, Japan, Korea, the Himalayas and the Islamic world, dating from antiquity to the contemporary, along with sales of Asian art at local and international auction houses. Alongside the selling exhibitions, visitors can attend the plethora of museum exhibitions, lectures, gallery talks, study days and conferences which coincide with Asian Art in London.
The Late Night Openings start with Kensington Church Street on 3 November, St. James’s on 4 November and Mayfair on 5 November, all from 5-9pm. Not all galleries participate in these late openings, so refer to the AAL website listings for individual gallery’s details. The AAL directory, includes maps and an events calendar and can be found in members’ galleries, or can be downloaded from their website.
Alongside the gallery shows, there are several museum exhibitions and events that coincide with Asian Art in London week. In London: British Library: Beyond Timbuktu: Preserving the Manuscripts of Djenné, Mali; Brunei Gallery (SOAS): Master – An Ainu Story; and From Kabul to Kolkata, Memories and Identity; Japan House: Subtle Takeo Paper Show; Korean Cultural Centre: Yunchul Kim: Dawns, Mine, Crystal; Victoria & Albert Museum: Jameel Prize 5.
Elsewhere in the UK: Ashmolean Museum (Oxford): Plum Blossom and Green Willow: Surimono Poetry Prints, and Lui Shuo-kwan: Abstraction, Ink and Enlightenment; Museum of East Asian Art (Bath): Contemporary Chinese Art by Zhang Yanzi; Oriental Museum (Durham) Hidden Women; Pitt Rivers Museum (Oxford): Performing Tibetan Identities: Photographic Portraits by Nyema Droma; St Hughes College, Dickson Poon China Centre Building (Oxford): Shen Fuzon, the First Chinese Visitor to Oxford; Russel-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum (Bournemouth): China: Through the Lens of John Thomson (1868-1872); The Whitworth (University of Manchester): Four Corners of One Cloth: Textiles from the Islamic World.
Book launch: On 4 November: Catalogue to the Oriental Ceramic Society Exhibition China Without Dragons, at Sotheby’s New Bond Street. For lectures and other events, see the Asian Art in London website.
The annual gala party is on 1 November – at a new venue for the event, The Magazine, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, Hyde Park in Kensington Gardens. Tickets (£80) must be pre-booked through Asian Art in London, asianartinlondon.com.
LATE NIGHT OPENING
Saturday 3 November, 5-9 pm
Gregg Baker Asian Art, Marchant, Jorge Welsh Works of Art
Gregg Baker is showing new acquisitions at the gallery, including a selection of post-war art, alongside the traditional works in which the gallery specialises. Post-war artists included in the show include Kokuta Suda (1906-1990), Tadasky (Tadasuke Kuwayama, b 1935), and Key Sato (1906-1978). At Marchant’s the exhibition is Chinese Ceramics from Han to Song, the first exhibition in their 93 years dedicated entirely to early Chinese ceramic wares. A highlight of the show is a large Tang-dynasty figure of a falconer, which was de-accessioned from the Manno Museum of Art in Japan. Other works include a dingyao dish, and two Jian ware tea bowls. Models of animals are always attractive and Marchant has an example of a seated Han-dynasty dog, a rarity, as few have been found in the seated position. Through Distant Eyes: Portraiture in Chinese Export Art is the title of Jorge Welsh’s exhibition that includes a saucer with a portrait of William IV of Orange-Nassau from the Qianlong period and a punch-bowl with a portrait of Fanny Murray from the Qing dynasty.
LATE NIGHT OPENING
Sunday 4 November
Raquelle Azran Vietnamese Art, BachmannEckenstein Japanese Art,
Joost van den Bergh, Brandt Asian Art,
Cohen & Cohen, Rob Dean Art, Malcolm Fairley, Peter Finer, Genrokuart, Grosvenor Gallery, Robert Hales, Hanga Ten,
Littleton & Hennessy, Martindale Chinese Art, Simon Pilling, Priestley & Ferraro, Simon Ray Indian & Islamic Works of Art, Roell Fine art, Jacqueline Simcox, Runjeet Singh, Davinder Toor, Grace Tsumugi Fine Art, and
Jonathan Tucker & Antonia Tozer Asian Art
Raquelle Azran is showing Indochine Scenes: Vietnamese and French Paintings from the 1900s. BachmannEckesntein Japanese Art specialises in Painting, calligraphy, ceramics from Momoyama to Taisho period, 16th-early 20th centuries and their show explores the Japanese Eccentrics. A selection of Chinese and Japanese works of art are on show at Brandt Asian Art. Joost van den Bergh specialises in Indian and this year’s exhibition is entitled Indian Art from Bactrian and Classical and includes a selection of Gandharan sculpture. Chinese export specialists, Cohen and Cohen, is offering a private collection this year: The Golden Gate Collection of Chinese Export Porcelain. Rob Dean, another Indian specialist is exhibiting a group of Classical Indian Paintings from the Court of Mandi. The exhibition highlights the changing styles and aesthetic that existed within the court of Mandi over a 200-year period. These works reveal a constant evolution of styles and formats that depended upon both the whims of patrons, and the personal genius of individual artists based at the court. Paintings from this period tended to be produced anonymously, leaving the attribution of specific artists to paintings a matter of academic debate, however, included in the current exhibition are two rare works which are inscribed on the reverse, and specifically identify the artists who produced the works. The exhibition thus brings to light two previously unpublished works by the Mandi Artists, Sajnu and Mohammadi, and extends the understanding of the influence of these artists at the Mandi court atelier in the early 19th century.
Malcolm Fairley’s exhibition consists of recent acquisitions, including metalwork, enamels and lacquer, textiles and ceramics – all from the Meiji period. A highlight of the show is a collection of fine enamels by Namikawa Yasuyuki. Catalogue available. Another Japanese specialist, Grace Tsumugi Fine Art is featuring a selection of Japanese metalworks, lacquers, enamels, inro and porcelains from the late Edo, Meiji and Taisho periods, including works made by Imperial Court Artists such as Shibata Zeshin, Kagawa Katsuhiro, Tsukada Shukyo, Namikawa Yasuyuki and Seifu Yohei III. One of the highlights in the exhibition is a matching lacquer set of writing and document boxes with a dramatic contrast of the exterior and the interior; made by Koda Shuetsu (1881-1933) circa 1920, the covers are decorated with flowers in a Japanese garden in Spring and Autumn while the reverse in rich gold lacquer with stylised waves and sea birds. Also on offer is a fine silver box inlaid in mixed metal with a pair of pheasants on riverbank, skilfully chiselled and carved by Funakoshi Shunmin (1868-1940), circa 1900.
Grosvenor Gallery specialises in modern and contemporary Indian art and this year are having an exhibition of miniatures by the Delhi-based artist Olivia Fraser. Fraser, who was born in London in 1965 and raised in the Highlands of Scotland, has lived and worked in India since 1989. Deeply interested in the techniques and vocabulary of traditional Indian miniatures, she combines mineral and plant pigments and handmade paper with forms and ideas inspired by modern
At Hanga Ten the show concentrates of the work of Nana Shiomi and her woodcuts: Nature and Mirror Images. In the same gallery, more Japanese work is on offer from Simon Pilling with a show entitled Flora & Fable. The show focuses on the symbolism of plants in Japanese art, presenting works from 14th-century Buddhist imagery through to contemporary pieces. Each embodies the artist’s ambition to capture emotional qualities – ranging from the spiritual enlightenment of the lotus flower to the sadness and loss associated with autumn as harbinger of winter. Also in the exhibition are the works of three rising contemporary artists – lacquerists: Ando Saeko and Fujino Seiichiro, and ceramicist Inayoshi Osamu. Each is striving to capture an explicit harmony with nature with their goal being to reignite traditional values, leading to greater ecological, social and cultural wellbeing through a heightened empathy with the natural world.
New to Asian Art in London is Robert Hales, a specialist in Oriental and Islamic arms and armour. Highlights include some fine Indonesian kris and kris stands, and items from India, Persia, the Ottoman Empire, Tibet and Nepal, including swords, daggers, shields, pistols, helmets and other fine decorative items. Highlights include a North-Indian, 18th/19th-century sword shamshir from Rajasthan with a fine Iranian watered steel blade. The silver-gilt hilt is decorated with predominantly turquoise enamel with dark blue and green highlights and set with clusters of diamonds and pale green emeralds. And an early Javanese Kris with the hilt covered with gold and is in the form of a Raksasa set with several small gems.
Littleton & Hennessy are presenting a range of Chinese works of art and scholar’s objects ranging from the Tang to the Qing, including a green and straw-glazed pottery watch tower from the Liao dynasty, an important chestnut-glazed Tang pottery horse and an important Qianlong mark and period double-gourd vase with moulded floral design, formerly in the collection of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Another new exhibitor is Martindale Chinese Art, who is showing a collection of Chinese works of art, including objects from private European collection. A highlight is a carved amber deer in recumbent form dating to the 17th century, alongside a white and russet jade carved pebble of a Buddhist lion dog dated to the Kangxi period (1662-1722).
Simon Ray, as usual, holds an Indian & Islamic Works of Art show and among the objects on offer are a Mughal 17th-century velvet fragment that probably would have been uses as a floor spread, a Safavid tile panel, 17th century, depicting apple picking in an orchard, a 17th-century, a watercolour from Shiraz, circa 1560, that depicts ‘Ardashir Recognising his Son Shapur in the Polo Game’, an illustration from the Shahnama of Firdausi, a Northern Indian tile with floral sprays rising from a vase, and a selection of Indian 18th-century paintings. Roell Fine Art’s exhibition is From Distant Shores, and explores exotica and cross-cultural art collected and commissioned by European travellers and settlers in far-away lands since the ‘Age of Discoveries’ up until the 19th century. Highlights include a carved ebony and ivory inlaid armchair. In the crest rail the coat of arms of the Irish FitzGerald family of the Knights of Glin, Coromandel Coast/Madras, late 17th century and a lacquer plaque depicting St Petersburg, made in Nagasaki, Japan, circa 1788.
Jonathan Tucker and Antonia Tozer are presenting a selection of sculptures and other works of art from Gandhara, India, China and Southeast Asia. Among this year’s highlights are an 8th-century Dvaravati style Buddha from Thailand, a diverse group of other Buddhas from Southeast Asia, two Gandhara sculptures including a schist figure of Atlas and a stucco Maitreya and a large and powerful Pala torso of Buddha.
LATE NIGHT OPENING
Monday 5 November
David Baker Oriental Art, Berwald Oriental Art, Prahlad Bubbar, Eskenazi Ltd, Sam Fogg, Francesca Galloway, Ben Janssens Oriental Art, Roger Keverne, Sydney L Moss, Nicholas Pitcher Oriental Art
David Baker is showing a group of Song-dynasty ceramics from mainly private collections. This section includes a rare Southern Song vase with a Lung-chuan celadon glaze which was originally from the private collection of Roger Bluett and probably intended to be used as a flower container. There are similar pieces in the Palace Museum and Japanese collections. Also on offer is a selection of Chinese works of art and ceramics from the Tang dynasty through to the Qing period.
John Berwald is showcasing recent acquisitions, with a special focus on Chinese ceramics, sculpture and works of art from the Han to the Qing. A special area of interest is Chinese ceramics from the 17th century. Prahlad Bubbar’s exhibition is Flowers and Geometry, featuring Indian, Islamic and Himalayan art. Each object selected has been chosen for a material quality or trace, however it they also have a symbolic meaning, a raison d’être that transcends its function. Eskenazi Ltd are showing part two of the exhibition Six Dynasties Art from the Norman A Kurland Collection that encompasses Chinese art from the 5th and 6th centuries. Part two features 38 works including two highly important early Buddhist sculptures alongside rare and exceptional examples of earthenware, metalwork and textiles. Highlights include a limestone Maitreya, Northern Wei dynasty, from the Longmen cave temple complex, a limestone bust of Buddha, Northern Qi period (550-577), and a bronze dragon from the Six Dynasties period, dating to the 6th century. Also on offer are two Chinese silk textiles from the same period, one shows lions, elephants and camels, the other depicts dragons in confrontation.
This year Francesca Galloway is showing an important group of Indian paintings from the Ludwig Habighorst collection, dating from the late 16th to the early 19th centuries. Highlights include the two Bilaspur Bhagavata Purana folios and the Guler portrait of Raja Dalip Singh attributed to Pandit Seu. Other paintings are compelling for their insight into the human psyche, such as the madness of love or the wrath of the gods. The characters of the ‘Small Mankot’ Ramayana are likewise filled with human emotion.
At Ben Janssens Oriental Art the theme of the show is Animals and Flowers, including a range of early Chinese sculpture, bronzes, ceramics and later Chinese and Japanese works of art
Japanese folklore and bakemono (ghosts) and their brethren are the theme for the exhibition this year at Syndey L Moss. The show includes lacquer work, pipecases, inro and netsuke, including a sake jar ‘ghost’ netsuke in wood, showing a young boy humorously up-ending a sake flask, using cloth as a cape to create a hooded ghost puppet, from the Osaka region, circa 1800, and a wood netsuke of a dancing oni with an okame mask by Deme, Edo, circa 1800.
CHELSEA DESIGN CENTRE and BLOOMSBURY
ArtChina, Kamal Bakhshi Modern Asian Art, Genrokuart, Han Collection, October Gallery (and in Bloomsbury),
Singapore Art Garret Gallery
Several galleries have grouped together at this building known for interior-design shops in Chelsea. Art China are showing the works of young, emerging Chinese artists, all of whom are honing their skills both in China and here in the UK. Works at the gallery include painting, sculpture and prints. A featured artist is Wang Chao, a professor at the China Academy of Arts and director of its noted Purple Bamboo Studio.
The October Gallery, in Bloomsbury, is having a solo show for Tian Wei, who was born in Xi’an, China, but who has worked in California and since 2011 has been based back in China, in Beijing. Tian Wei’s work constructs a bridge between things that appear as dyadic opposites, binary poles or complementary pairs. This perspective of yin and yang is deeply embedded in Chinese thinking, and the artist’s frequent reference to Classic Chinese texts such as the I Ching (The Book of Changes) and Tao Te Ching, credited to Laozi, appear as quotations in minute script patterning the background upon which larger semi-abstract cursive shapes are drawn.