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Showcase for the exotic

Asian artifacts are one specialty at Beverly Hills' Chait Gallery.

September 09, 2004|Leslie Trilling

I.M. Chait Gallery, in the heart of Beverly Hills, is owned and operated by Isadore Chait, an Asian arts expert. Although the gallery is best known for its monthly sales featuring Asian material, there is much more. Jewelry, fine art and antiques along with local estate property are part of the regular sale schedule. Chait operates a gallery open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., that features items to be sold in upcoming sales. Customers are encouraged to leave bids and are later notified if successful.

An upcoming auction will offer Asian antiques and antiquities, American and Continental furniture, decorative arts and vintage jewelry. Highlights include an extensive collection of Chinese snuff bottles, Tang Dynasty pottery, ivory carvings and Japanese netsuke. Estimates of items' sale prices range from $300 to $30,000.

Leslie Trilling


I.M. Chait Gallery

Location: 9339 Civic Center Drive, Beverly Hills; (310) 285-0182,

Previews: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sept. 18.

Auction: Sept. 19, 1 p.m.


Status symbol

Lot 231: Antique hair crystal snuff bottle, circa 1860

Estimated sale price: $800 to $1,000

A large crystal snuff bottle formed from a quartz body with needles of tourmaline "hair" growing inside. The skin (exterior) of the crystal is white and carved in relief. The deer and pine motif is popular in Chinese mythology, representing longevity. Snuff was the Cuban cigar of the day, according to Chait. A beautiful snuff bottle was a status symbol, much like the Cartier cigarette case of the 20th century.


Gold of the Buddha

Lot 179: Gilt bronze phoenix. Chinese Tang/Song Dynasty, about 1,000 years old.

Estimated sale price: $1,000 to $1,250

This finial is Buddhist, probably from an incense burner or bronze altar object. Chait explains that "gold gilt pieces from this period are rare because the gilt plating method was mercury-based; it was a very dangerous and toxic process and only used on things considered to be highly important." The phoenix is an ancient symbol for longevity and rebirth.


Jazz Age jade

Lot 151: Art Deco black jade box, circa 1920s to '30s

Estimated sale price: $1,500 to $2,000

The lozenge-form footed box and cover constructed from a solid piece of black jade is set with carved white jade plaques depicting flowers and trees. Cabochon jade and quartz "jewels" ornament the outside of the cover's rim. This was probably used as a cigarette box.


Genie optional

Lot 165: Persian oil lamp, about 2,500 years old

Estimated sale price: $400 to $600

This lamp is characteristic of those found throughout the Middle East and southern Europe and similar to ones used in ancient Greece and Rome. A rare feature of this piece is the original top. Also a plus: the elegant upsweeping foliate form of the handle.

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