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Terracotta Warriors & Cai Guo-Qiang: A contemporary perspective on ancient history

Picture

Armoured military officer, Qin dynasty 221–207 BCE, earthenware, 190.0 x 56.0 x 58.0 cm Emperor Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum, Site Museum, Xi’an
Since they were first uncovered in 1974, the thousands of Terracotta Warriors guarding the afterlife of Qin Shi Huang (259-210BC), the first Qin Emperor of China, have been on the move advancing the political, cultural and artistic policies of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

The mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang in Lintong County, outside Xi’an in Shaanxi province, China, about thirty-five metres underground, is a very popular tourist site and presently attracts about 30,000 visitors a day. In all, it is estimated that there are about 8,000 warriors, 130 chariots, 520 horses, 150 cavalry horses and other pits containing non-military figures, including court officials, acrobats, performers, bureaucrats and musicians. Only a fraction of this huge figurine group has been fully excavated.

Interesting private collection of Republic period porcelain features in Chorley’s sale

HR Red crested crane brushpot (4)Red-crested crane brushpot from Chorley’s forthcoming sale     Pic. Chorleys

In recent years, relatively recently-produced Chinese porcelain has started to make waves in the auction rooms. Early 20th century pieces and many of those created right through the Republic period (1912-49) are now just as much in demand as rather earlier pieces.

Cotswold auctioneers Chorley’s forthcoming sale, on Tuesday 20 & Wednesday 21 March, offers an important private collection of Republican era porcelain.  The highlight will be a set of four rectangular porcelain plaques by Bi Botao (1885-1961) representing the four seasons.  Bi Botao was a member of the well-known group ‘The Eight Friends of Zhushan’.  The group comprised the best porcelain artists of the period and revitalised the Chinese porcelain industry after the political unrest in 19th Century China and the subsequent fall of the Qing dynasty.  The plaques, which are delicately painted with frogs, a spider, turtles and a snake respectively, estimate £18,000 – £22,000 They were acquired by avid collector Peter Wain.

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