A Massive Blue and White Dragon Incense Burner, Tongzhi Mark and of the Period (1862-1874)
清同治 ‘曾 宗聖堂’青花海水雲龍大香爐
Finely painted with serpentine dragons, each baring well rendered scales and claws, amidst flames and clouds, with rolling waves encircling the base, with a carved wood stand
without stand height 13.9" — 35.2 cm.
dated to 1867
From the Collection of Robert Stephenson (lots 49-56)
Bob was born in Brantford, Ontario in 1948. After receiving an honours degree in physics, mathematics and chemistry, he pursued a successful career in banking. In 1980, he was transferred from Vancouver to Asia with the Toronto Dominion Bank, and it was there that he fell in love with Asian art. He began collecting Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Korean pieces, and became particularly enamoured with figures of the Buddha, explaining that they gave him a sense of “peace and serenity”. To accommodate his growing collection, Bob began to sell various pieces, and in 1983 he and a friend, Nonny Clemete, established their company Artifacts. When the bank proposed Bob’s relocation to North America in 1984, he opted to trade in his suit and tie for his signature silk-shirt-and-black-pant ensemble, and focused all of his time on collecting and dealing in Asian art. He expanded Artifacts internationally, establishing showrooms in Hong Kong, Brussels, Toronto and Manila, and also opened a factory workshop in Manila where furniture was produced. Bob’s passion for Asian art was enduring, and despite his success in banking, he asserted that “I know I am much happier this way. Maybe I have to work twice as hard, but I am also having twice as much fun doing what I do.” While he amassed an impressive collection throughout his career, perhaps his most prized piece was the Thai Chien Seng Buddha from the 15th or 16th century (lot 54), which can be seen in the portrait of Bob by a renowned Toronto artist.
Department: Asian Art
Ceramics: Blue and White
Wares: Incense Burner