As Americans who think that 1492 was a long time ago, it can be difficult to imagine a country where the same race and culture of its people have continuously developed and evolved over nearly 5,000 years of recorded history (not to mention thousands of more years of evidence of prehistoric development). But such is the case with Asian countries such as China and India.
A brief history of Asian art
Over that long history, these countries developed materials, techniques and art forms that have been produced and perfected for literally centuries. Among their most popular wares are vessels, statues and serving pieces made from man-made materials such as pottery, porcelain and bronze; utilitarian and decorative objects carved from natural materials including jade, ivory and wood; and artwork, which was frequently painted or hand-printed onto silk or rice paper.
Asian countries traded with Europe for many centuries, but it was not until the late 1700s that trade began with America. Prior to that, trade between America and Asian countries was restricted by the British. Thus, the majority of what is found locally today comes from either the 19th or 20th century. Of course, a small number of older examples that were obtained by travelers and collectors can be found stateside.
The popularity of Asiana
Asiana, as it is known among collectors, has come in and out of vogue over the years, but there has never been more interest than there is now. This can probably be attributed to global awareness in general, along with a newfound interest in collecting on behalf of the Asian American community. Thus, with demand and values escalating, now may be the right time to sell your Chinese, Japanese, Indian and other Asian items.
Dating Asiana items can be tricky
Because most Asiana has been made in virtually the same way for hundreds of years, it can be extremely difficult for the novice to date it. Of course, knowing when and where it was obtained is the best clue. Since age is among the greatest dictators of value with these wares, it is important that you have your items evaluated by a knowledgeable dealer or collector before attempting to sell them. A 1740s Chinese 16” vase sold in London for $69 million, and that doesn’t include the 20% the buyer was charged in fees and taxes. The seller had found the vase in their attic.
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