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 A mention in an art and antiques journal led Susan Morris to wonder about a small bowl she and her husband, Ben, have had for approximately 30 years. She said that the story stated that a Chinese bowl bought for $3 at yard sale in 2007 sold for $2.2 million in 2013. “When I saw that, I remembered mine,” she explained.

 

She and her husband, Ben, filled appraiser Brian Thomczek in on the piece’s background at a recent appraisal session held at the Michigan Design Center in Troy.  “We got it from Bob Arnett…At one point his collection was featured at the High Museum in Atlanta.”

An internet search supported their claim. “Beyond India: An Exhibition of Works of Art From South East Asia in the William and Robert Arnett Collection,” is an exhibition that was shown at the High Museum of Art from April 10 through June 16, 1974. The Morrises knew Arnett and said “India is his specialty; his brother is doing Outsider art.”

They were curious about the small bowl they brought in that measures 5 5/8 in diameter and 2 ½ inches high. They brought along a hand-written bill of sale with Arnett’s name and address on the top dated October of 1988.

“Sold to Mr. and Mrs. Ben Morris,” it reads, with a description “Celadon bowl with crackle glaze and ribbed design on exterior. Lung-Ch’uan type. Chinese. Late Sung Dynasty (Song Dynasty). Ca 13th-14th century A.D.”

The bowl has a green crackle glaze and a darker base but no marks, something that makes appraising it more challenging, says Thomczek. “It’s very nice and definitely has age to it, but I’m not an expert in Chinese works and can’t tell you exactly how old it is. Unfortunately, there is a lot of fakery in Asian art. They bury it to make it look older, so marks are especially important.”

The Morrises said that they had approached the DIA  but had no luck putting a number on their treasure. Thomczek suggested that the couple would be best served by working with an expert in Chinese antiquities, and suggested I.M. Chait in Beverly Hills, California. “It can be very difficult to find solid information. It’s a very specialized market but I’ve dealt with this company personally and would recommend them.”

A later email from the Morrises said that they had indeed contacted and sent a photograph to the California-based firm and ultimately received the same appraisal as the one from Thomczek, who valued the bowl starting at $400 and up.  “If you can nail down marks and dynasties, Asian art can bring a lot of money,” he said. “Right now, Asian art is very, very strong.”

Susan Morris wasn’t surprised. “My daughter-in-law is Chinese and she said ‘You know, nothing is coming out of China anymore.’”

Do you have an object you would like to know more about? Send a photo and description that includes how you acquired the object to: The Detroit News, Trash or Treasure?, 160 W. Fort St., Detroit, MI 48226. Include your name and daytime telephone number. You may also send your photo and description to trashortreas@aol.com. If chosen you’ll need to bring the items to an appraisal session. Letters are edited for style and clarity. Photos cannot be returned.

About this item

Item: Asian bowl

Appraised by: Brian Thomczek

Owned by: Ben and Susan Morris

Estimated value: $400 and up

Do you have an object you would like to know more about? Send a photo and description that includes how you acquired the object to: The Detroit News, Trash or Treasure?, 160 W. Fort St., Detroit, MI 48226. Include your name and daytime telephone number. You may also send your photo and description to trashortreas@aol.com. If chosen you’ll need to bring the items to an appraisal session. Letters are edited for style and clarity. Photos cannot be returned.

                                                

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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