Auction - Chinese erotic ivory panels coming up at Bohnams

A unique set of Chinese erotic ivory panels mounted in zitan wood screens, possibly from the court of the Qianlong Emperor, will be on offer at Bonhams next fine Chinese Art Sale in London on May 12th for an estimated £800,000 to £1.2 million. The naughty 18th-century ivory scenes show couples enjoying amorous embraces in a variety of leafy palace gardens. The reliefs are mounted on eight leaves made of the precious zitan wood, a prized, slow-growing timber whose use in China was controlled by the palace workshops. The 12-inch-high panels are hinged like books, allowing the carvings to be viewed at the discretion of the owner. The quality and size of these carvings are comparable to a set of 12 similar leaves in the Qing court collection at the Palace Museum, Beijing, Bohnams said.