Asian Art & Asian Antiques

Specialists in Chinese, Japanese, Islamic and Korean art


Bellmans' Asian Ceramics and Works of Art Department holds Specialist Asian Art, & Ceramics auctions every quarter.

Among the Asian Art and Asian Antiques highlights were a large 18th century Canton enamel panel which sold for £80,000, and a 17th-century Chinese blanc de chine figure of Guanyin reached £39,000. A 16th century Tibetan gilt bronze of the female deity Green Tara purchased at a car boot sale for £25 was brought into one of our weekly free valuation days and sold for £32,000.

Our specialists have decades of experience in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Islamic porcelain, paintings, silver and works of art. Bellmans sells to both specialist dealers and private collectors in the UK and internationally, with a strong following in America, Europe and the Chinese mainland.

Valuations take place in our Sussex Saleroom, our London office on Upper Grosvenor Street, Mayfair, and 'pop-up' valuation days across the country. Preliminary estimates can be provided via email, and we are delighted to arrange home visits. Valuations are complimentary and available online.

Just get in touch with your contact details, and we can assist you further.

Categories

  • Asian Works of Art

Department Specialists

Philip Howell FRICS

Asian Art, English & European Ceramics Specialist

Asian Art & Asian Antiques: A Brief Introduction


‘Asian art’ covers a broad and diverse range of art forms, from sculptures to paintings, woodblock prints and antiques. Each country and period has a distinct style defined through historical context, foreign influence and popularity at the time. Therefore, it's nearly impossible to capture the spirit of a term that encapsulates so many cultures, periods and styles.

As Asian economies have flourished, the market for Asian art has grown significantly, providing outstanding results across all aspects of collecting. Our specialist team cover all elements of Asian art, including such as porcelain, bronze, carvings and textiles and materials typical of the art form, such as jade and ivory. We also have a great interest in Asian antiques and Eastern art.


Chinese art

As a largely isolated nation for much of history, China developed a highly advanced civilisation distinguished by a unique combination of progressive technology, ancient art, and cultural awareness. This led to distinctive and sophisticated artistic practices, many of which still marvel today.

Generally, Chinese painting styles range from encapsulating rich colours and fine details to freehand (Xieyi), which is exaggerated and unreal, emphasising the artist's emotional expression. The latter is usually used to depict landscapes.

Ancient Chinese crafts were typically made from jade or porcelain. You can identify more modern Chinese art by tracking the introduction of Western influences and painting techniques, which gradually became more prevalent as time went by.


Japanese art

The art of Japan captures a wide range of styles and media, including pottery from ancient times, wood and bronze sculptures, ink paintings, silk and paper, and many other types of art from ancient times to the present day.

Enjoying a massive surge of popularity in the Edo period, Japanese art specifically characteristically depicts elements of the natural world as a source of spiritual insight and an instructive mirror for human emotions. Sculptures often incorporate religious iconography, mainly of Shinto or Buddhist influence, and are frequently made of traditional wood materials.

Japanese art, in general, characteristically embodies the synthesis of native aesthetics and the adaptation of imported ideas, meaning that artistic styles developed and changed quickly throughout history. For example, Japanese painting during the Muromachi period (1338–1573) was influenced by the Chinese Zen aesthetic, typified by the taste for monochrome and ink painting. However, by the beginning of the Tokugawa era (1603–1867), this style was quickly eclipsed by boldly colourful genres and decorative works which celebrated flourishing native culture.


Korean art

Korean pottery, music, calligraphy, painting, sculpture, and other genres are often defined by their bold colour, natural forms, precise shapes and surface decorations.

Despite the clear and distinguished differences between the three independent East Asian cultures, Korea, China, and Japan share historical and significant similarities and interactions. The West has only recently begun to appreciate Korean artistry in its own right. We see substantial growth and interest in this area as specialists expand their Asian art collection to incorporate this development.


Islamic art

Encapsulating painting, ceramics, calligraphy, embroidery and glass and metalwork, the art of the middle east is famed for intricate designs, geometric patterns and abstract florals. In addition to influences from Roman, Early Christian, and Sassanian art, Chinese art had a significant impact on the art of Islamic painting, pottery, and textiles.

Outside the Islamic world, there has been no Islamic artistic product that has gained more recognition than the pile carpet, more commonly known as oriental rugs. Their bold patterns and highly attractive colours make them hugely desirable and collectable pieces.