For foreign auction houses that aren't legally allowed to sell Chinese antiquities on the mainland, an important strategy is to create new collection fields. (Photo provided to China Daily)
Some highlights of the upcoming sale include a pair of porcelain bowls, products of cooperation between Lu Jiande, a ceramic master from "porcelain capital" Jingdezhen city, Jiangxi province, and Ding Yi, a Shanghai-based contemporary artist. The bowls bear patterns inspired by the signature images in Ding's paintings.
Lenain says Ding had never created on ceramics, hence the bowls are both a challenge for him and a historical moment in his career.
Also to be auctioned is a table made of carbon fiber, by Gan Erke, 60, an Anhui-based inheritor of lacquer art, a national intangible cultural heritage. The table, named Da Tian Di (sky and earth), marks Gan's mastery with traditional furniture-making skills, although he chose carbon fiber instead of wood.
Lenain says the table is one of the many Chinese designs on offer, whose makers use traditional techniques but become more creative by utilizing today's materials.
Lenain sensed the right time to launch the category of Chinese contemporary design when she felt the evolution in collectors' needs two to three years ago. On one hand, the very mature collectors of Western designs are looking for what is made in Asia, and on the other, Chinese buyers are now prepared for greater variety, having been in the art market for 20 years.
The Shanghai sale was held under the motto "made in China", with private collectors buying all of the items. It also saw 30 percent of new buyers coming to Christie's salesroom because of the new category.