New world record for Ming vase
Updated: 2006-05-31 05:52
HONG KONG: A rare underglaze copper-red Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) vase sold
for HK$78.52 million (US$10.13 million) in Hong Kong yesterday, setting a world
auction record for Ming porcelain.
Theow Tow, Deputy
Chairman of Christie's Asia and the Americas International Director of
Chinese works of Arts, looks at an early Ming underglaze copper-red vase
after it was sold for a world record of US$10,122,558 for any Ming
porcelain during an auction in Hong Kong May 30, 2006.
"He's bought the vase at the right price, making a world record," said Edward
Dolman, chief executive officer of Christie's International, referring to buyer
Steve Wynn, chairman of Macao-based Wynn Resorts.
The pear-shaped vase, decorated with a peony scroll, is the only copper-red
vase of the early Ming Dynasty still in perfect condition to be offered at
auction in more than 15 years, said Christie's Hong Kong office.
The vase was originally inherited by a Scottish couple who used it as a lamp
and did not realize its value until they saw a similar example in a museum.
Ceramics with underglaze copper-red decoration are very rare, owing to their
complicated production process.
Mineral copper used to produce the raspberry-red tone is notoriously
difficult to control during the firing process, and often leaves the porcelain
with a grey or almost colourless coating.
Of the small number of underglaze copper-red Ming vases remaining, most have
suffered some degree of damage, especially on the narrow and thin necks. The
peony vase auctioned yesterday is one of rare successes where the pattern is
expertly executed and the colour is evenly distributed, and has also survived
(China Daily 05/31/2006 page2)