Wynn pays record price for Chinese Ming vase
Updated: 2006-05-31 09:55
A rare underglaze copper-red Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) vase sold for HK$78.52
million (US$10.13 million) in Hong Kong on Tuesday, setting a world auction
record for Ming porcelain.
Ming underglaze copper-red vase is displayed after it was sold for a world
record of US$10,122,558 for any Ming porcelain during Christie's "The
Imperial Sale" auction in Hong Kong May 30, 2006. [Reuters]
"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, Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn.
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