Chinese Antiques

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Collectors often develop their taste through successive phases, first buying late and decorative pieces of obvious appeal and minor importance, then turning perhaps to the earlier wares, gradually refining their choice and increasing their knowledge till, having built up a reputable collection, they are only too glad to forget their early indiscretions. Mr Weng knew what he wanted from the start, and his first purchase set the key for thirty years of collecting of remarkable consistency. His interest in ceramics begins with the Six Dynasties and ends with the Ming, and so covers the periods in the history of the art in China when form was at its simplest and most robust, when colour was warm and restrained, and decoration subordinated to shape. The brilliant techniques and lifeless perfection of the later wares hold no appeal for him, nor has he ever been attracted by mere rarity.
The collection is most notable for its splendid range of Tang wares, and for a group of celadons in which we may trace the whole history of that important Chekiang family from its earliest beginnings in the Yuan ware of the third century A.D. up to the Ming Dynasty. The classic Ting and Chun are well represented; there is a lively group of Ci-Chou wares, and a lovely collection of Qingbai; while almost the full range of black wares, Northern and Southern, is included. The single piece of Ju, one of the very few in private hands in the West, seems in its restrained perfection of form and colour to typify the quality of the collection as a whole.
The part of the collection that is probably best known is the tomb figurines. There are notable examples of both Six Dynasties and Tang date, unglazed, glazed, and painted. The famous ‘tired horse’, (Ts001) is surely one of the most sensitively-modeled Tang figurines in existence, while no one could fail to surrender to the charm of the pair of girl attendants (TS007), one of Whom carries in her hands, as though in symbolic offering to its owner, a miniature replica of the first Chinese piece Mr Weng ever bough……..

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