Chinese Miniatures

The Imperial Pleasures collection

Hong Kong
A six-poster Ming-style canopy bed from Imperial Pleasures will set you back about $25,000, but don't expect to sleep on it. Although fine-grained and handsomely carved, it's about 12 percent the size of its adult sibling. Yet, like all the pieces in the Imperial Pleasures collection of miniature classical Chinese furniture and objects, it has a distinguished pedigree. All of the mini-Mings and -Qings in the collection are based on originals in private hands or museums. Each is made by artisans in China from traditional dense hardwoods, huanghuali (yellow-flower pear wood) and zitan (similar to purple sandalwood.) A scholar's suite with a $22,000 12-panel screen has hand-painted watercolor and ink-scroll paintings. Two hand-carved lamps, flanking the scholar's table, have lightbulbs the size of rice grains that work on a nine-volt battery. Robert Piccus cofounded Imperial Pleasures with Charles C. W. Wong, a dealer based in Hong Kong. Just three years later, their business has filled a need with Asian art connoisseurs and miniature-furniture collectors that no one knew was even there. The miniatures include folding stools, armchairs, bookcases, and a variety of tables, ranging in price from about $150 to $25,000. Orders are sent by Federal Express. Yu Yuet Lai Building, Suite 709, 43-55 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong; 852-2540-6011; fax 852-2803-0771. In New York, the WaterMoon Gallery (212-925-5556) carries a limited selection.