Archive for the ‘Chinese art’ Category

Launch of is Third Website for Cultural Travelers

In antiques online, Art and the American Way, Art business, Chinese art on February 25, 2012 at 5:23 pm

I am happy to announce that we have  launched, the third destination website from Antiques Weeks Media, LLC. will have special appeal for Chinese buyers and cultural travelers in New York, March 16 – 24, for the Asia Week auctions and exhibitions.

Billed as the “Gateway to New York’s Asia Week,”  the website provided details on the

  • Asian art auctions at Bonham’s, Christies, Doyle NY, Gianguan Auctions, I. M. Chait and Sotheby’s
  • Arts of Pacific Asia Show (60 dealers)  Stella’s Pier Antiques Shows (14  Asian art dealers), Japanese Art Dealers Association Show (five dealers), Asia Week New York’s 33 multi-venue exhibitions
  •  Asia-themed attractions such as the New York Scholars Garden on Staten Island
  • places to stay
  •  travel tips
  • Asian art news

A supporting mobile app gives visitors immediate access to events and participants.

Asia Week was branded in the 1990’s by the large international auction houses as a means of attracting a universe of buyers to its Asian art auctions.  Primarily  known for its commercial aspects,  Asia Week also has a strong educational component.  Cultural societies, including Asia Society, Japan Society and Tibet House, to name a few,  as well as  museums as focused as the Museum of Chinese in America and as well known at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, open their spring exhibits in time for the Asia Week travelers.

Additionally, a slate of lectures and seminars conducted by authorities on many aspects of Asian art is directed at collectors and museum curators. All are open to the public.  The dates and times are posted on, along with contact information for tickets. also introduces art lovers with a passing interest in Chinese antiques and Asian works of art to regional resources. For instance, the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City is represented, as is the Walters Collection in Atlanta, GA.  Short postings of content further this introduction.

From a purely practical point of view, makes it easy for travelers to get access to the auction schedules and find the more than ninety galleries opening their doors during Asia Week.  It also provides information on Asian-themed attractions in a fast, one-stop format.

As is the policy of Antiques Weeks Media, LLC when launching new sites, a donation in kind has been given to a worthy organization. The recipient of the donation is the New York Scholar’s Garden at the Staten Island Botanical Garden.

Supporting advertisers of include the Arts of Pacific Asia Show,  Gianguan Auctions, NYC, Stella Show Mgmt. Co., and New Focus, the online magazine. invites exploration by art collectors and cultural travelers. For more information, please visit

About Antiques Weeks Media
Antiques Week Media, LLC is the publisher of category-specific destination web sites for America’s popular antiques weeks. Sites include,, and


Create Success by Association Now

In antiques online, Art and the American Way, Art business, business, Chinese art, Media Planning, selliing antques, Young Collectors on August 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I read in the NY Times that $1 stores are the new haunt of the middle class. It’s  instant gratification  2011 style. But that’s not good news for antique dealers and auctioneers who want to encourage shoppers to spend.  There is a way out though.

It is called “aspirational marketing.”

You see it all the time on HGTV, where realtors and decorators have created formats that make people want to buy a home, and redecorate the one they have.

You see on American Pickers, where Mike Wolfe makes junk look good. And if you think he’s not following  up those marginal picks with merch – check out his website’s line of accessories. The  guy is making people aspire to be him!

And later this week, the Keno brothers will launch Buried Treasure and people will get turned on to their brand of knowledge.

What these shows have in common is that they  educate  consumers.

They also have a distribution format – national TV – that gets the word out to millions.

And what happens then? The educated in the distribution pipeline are not content with what they learn – they want to own something that reflects their new-found knowledge.

Or, success by association with a product.  Your product, be it antique chair, Chinese jade, contemporary art.

Aspirational marketing. It doesn’t preach to the choir or attempt to mine an already established audience. It reaches new audiences and turns those new audiences into buyers.

Why? Because human nature being what it is, people want to be close to the things they like. And if they impress a friend or  boss in the process-so much the better.

So, think about aspirational marketing and how it can boost your sales.

And if you need expert guidance, you know where to come. PRT3 has several aspirational campaigns going now. There is room for another.

New York’s New Auction Houses

In Art business, Auction Advertising, Auctions, business, Chinese art, Cool Exhibitions, Young Collectors on August 15, 2011 at 2:28 pm

The last ten months have seen four neighborhood auctioneers spring up in Manhattan, or just across the 59th Street bridge, in Long Island City. At this rate, NYC will soon become the wholesale auction capital of the United States

Roland Auctions in Greenwich Village

Refreshingly, most are generalists. (Of the two that specialize, Hong Kong Auctions – which has been around for about 5 years – handles only Chinese, particularly paintings.  Gene Shapiro Auctions on the Upper East Side specializes in Russian art, with  successes in American and Continental art.)

Among the wholesale houses, the properties come from estates on Park Avenue, Fifth Avenue and the nearby tri-state area. They run to the types of items rich people collected in the 60s, 70s and 80s. For instance, mid-century modern designer furniture by Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl, Tomi Parzinger and others is being spit out by the truck load. Modern paintings too.

The condition is often excellent and while the provenance must often be discretely handled, almost all the auction houses state the addresses property was taken from.

Because most of these guys run monthly sales, you can’t buy glossy  image laden catalogs, so it is imperative to visit their websites often.  The sites tend towards bare bones, linking to catalogs posted on Live The best way to see what they are selling is to visit the previews.

  • Hutter Auctions is on the West Side in midtown, not far from the Alvin Ailey School of Dance. It’s in a warehouse building, so you can’t peak in the windows. You must take the elevator and poke through a warren of holding rooms. Best buys tend to be traditional furniture, much of it by big name manufacturers.
  • Capo Auctions in Long Island City bills itself as a neighborhood auction houses. It draws from Long Island estates and recently featured weird items from the old Steinway Mansion. I can’t say what their best buys are but it’s easy enough to find out by checking the website and clicking  to prices realized.

Best advice – visit these venues and bid. As of this writing, you are competing mostly with dealers and that makes good odds that you will get what you want at a decent price. Another thing, often the items that don’t sell at auction get posted to 1st Dibs, where their  price increases.

A Benefit for Japan at Arts of Pacific Asia Preview

In Art and the American Way, Auction Advertising, Chinese art, selling antiques, Young Collectors on March 15, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Road Gone / Japan

As the spring Asia arts auctions roll around and NYC galleries prepare for an influx of uber affluent collectors and art lovers, the usual excitement is colored by the sad and devastating news from Japan.  As founder of Asian Arts Week – the campaign to unify and amply  the many aspects of spring Asia Week in New York – I am particularly struck by this.

So, in a spirit of humanism, Asian Arts Week is collaborating with Arts of Pacific Asia producers, Elizabeth Lees and Bill Caskey, to turn the opening night preview into a benefit fundraiser.  Both exhibitors and guests are being asked to donate a suggested amount of $50 to the relief efforts.

Arts of Pacific Asia logo

Turning a Preview into a Benefit

With access to the quake and tsunami zones still limited, Doctors Without Borders has dispatched two teams of three already.

At this time, relief organizations are saying funds cannot be earmarked for Japan specifically. But it is our belief that Doctors Without Borders, which appears on the  CNN list,  historically performs well. Donations made through the Arts of Pacific Asia initiative will fund their work.

I join Liz Caskey in saying that it is most appropriate for lovers of Japanese art and culture and the galleries that have benefited from the work to be among the leaders of givers in  art and antiques world.

Contributions may be made by check or cash.  Any organization participating in the week’s events but not coming to the Preview but desiring to donate can get more information by sending an email to

As for myself, I will be contributing my time to get the word out and making a financial contribution as well. (Any  PR people who would like to donate time to help spread the word can contact me at

For the past several years, Arts of Pacific Asia, unlike most high level antique/art shows, has not had a benefit opening.  It is most fitting that this year, exhibitors and guests rally around our friends to the East.

Arts of Pacific Asia preview party is Wednesday, March 23 at 7W.  (That’s 7 West 34th Street.) NYC, of course.

Homepage Asian Arts Week

A Guest Blogs: How to Collect Chinese Snuff Bottles

In Chinese art on July 12, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Today my guest blogger is Isadore M. Chait, President of I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers.  Izzy, as he is known to just about everyone, is an expert of Asian art.  Recently, he sent me a copy of a piece he had written on Chinese snuff bottles.

I think you’ll be interested in finding out about this highly collectible category.  The neat thing is that they don’t take up much room, are beautiful and still very moderately valued.

The Joy of Chinese Snuff Bottles.
What Are They? Why Collect Them?
Carved Jade Snuff Bottle
By Isadore M. Chait, President

In the very Early 18th Century (although some people might insist it was the late 17th Century), snuff, as a recreational habit, was introduced by Europeans to the Court of China.  While we all may have our opinions relative to the evils of tobacco, no one can ignore the fact that European snuff boxes, made for the wealthy class, are some of the most beautiful miniature objects created.  Executed in gold, enamels, often jeweled and diamond encrusted; depending on the wealth of the royal using it, snuff boxes are precious jewels in their own right.

Double Snuff BottleThe Chinese took to snuff as a Peking duck takes to the oven (just kidding).  You might say that at the time, snorting little dabs of tobacco and sneezing was ever increasingly popular among the wealthy-class in China.  Now we all know that the Chinese would be very unhappy to be outdone by the Europeans.  Therefore, members of the royal court and other wealthy individuals, having already at their disposal what might be referred to as Palace Workshops, started the creation of their own version of containers for snuff.

Chinese snuff bottles were actually more efficient than European snuff bottles.
  • They were small, about 3″ tall, or less.
  • They were what you might call today ergonomically shaped.
  • The tops were secured by cork so that they didn’t accidentally open while being carried in a sleeve and no moisture could get in.
  • They also had attached to the top and cork an ivory spoon, with which to reach in and extract the ground tobacco.
  • Chinese snuff bottles were executed in porcelain, enamels on metal, lacquer, glass and a myriad of organic and inorganic materials including, of course, jade.
Body Decorations

When formed of metal or ceramic, the bottles could be created hollow in order to Intricately carved snuff boxhold
the tobacco.  When carved out of stones such as agate or jade, the bottles
needed to be hollowed out on the interior.  This was a technique already developed for larger jade and agate pieces but the technology for doing this in miniature, as most snuff bottles rarely exceed 3”, was a proficiency quickly developed in the workshops.
Some bottles created in translucent agates were paper thin. One test of the carver’s skill, in creating these bottles, was to see if he could create snuff bottles so thin that, when immersed in water, they would actually float.  Another test was to see how small the opening could be for the spoon.

The decorations on these bottles varied tremendously, with porcelain being decorated under and over the glaze, many times with exquisite enamel detailing.  Enamel detailing was used on metal bottles, over copper or sometimes even over gold, again with exquisite detailing.  The same exquisite enameling could also be applied to glass or the glass could be carved using various colorations, in the styles that agate and jade might have been fashioned.

Sometimes these bottles bore marks attributing them to certain Dynastic Periods, specific carvers or specific workshops.  Now-a-days, when these bottles from the 18th Century appear and the bottles themselves are what we might call palace quality, they easily bring tens of thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars per bottle.
Snuff Bottle Tops

What about the tops of these snuff bottles?  Many times, the top is made of the same material as the bottle itself but the tops can be almost any material:  glass, agate, jade, metal, shell, ivory, etc.  Often the tops are chosen to compliment rather than match exactly the snuff bottle or its decoration and sometimes the tops are so exquisite that they themselves have become scarce commodities.  For example, not long ago, we sold an intricately carved white jade snuff bottle top for nearly $1,000 and many years ago I repatriated, so to speak, an emerald  green jadeite snuff bottle top and made it into a man’s ring, which today, would probably sell for at least  $50,000.

Snuff Bottles: Miniaturized Art Form

So what happened after the 18th Century?  By the time we get into the 19th Century, snuff is out of or going out of fashion and bottles are being collected as objects rather than functional containers.  Of course production never ceases and only increases as does the demand.  By the time of the later 19th Century, workshops have opened who can paint fantastic scenes on the interiors of clear glass snuff bottles.  Also around this time the West has discovered snuff bottles as an art object and well into modern times, more and more bottles are being created and more and more bottles are being collected.
As with all miniaturized art forms, value and the ability to be stored easily Museum of American History Snuff Bottle Collection
play an important part in the collecting of snuff bottles.  Another facet of collecting snuff bottles concerns itself with the fascination of Western collectors with the Chinese ability to emphasize detail of design so strongly that it can captivate the eye of the beholder.  I must also point out that in the Early 20th Century, workshops in Japan, also well know for their ability to exquisitely detail, are producing snuff bottles in carved and lacquered ivories, cloisonné and other mediums for collectors in Asia and abroad.

Needles to say, there are a lot of snuff bottles available to be purchased.  Many can be bought for under $100.  Many can be bought for under $1,000.  Good antique bottles can be bought for under $10,000 and it seems there is no limit to the prices being paid for the best bottles in the world.  It won’t be long before one sells for over a million dollars.

Fine collections of Snuff Bottles are featured in I.M. Chait’s Asian and International Fine Arts Auctions. The next Asian and International Fine Arts Auction is August 29.

Isadore M. Chait is an expert in Asian Arts. Two years after he started selling Chinese antique from his living room in 1967, he opened his first gallery of Asian Art. Today, I.M. Chait of Beverly Hills is a leader in Chinese arts. He has appeared on Financial News network and writes regularly on collecting.