Chinese imperial ceramics hit high prices in London auction
Updated: 2011-11-11 10:12
By Liu Wei (chinadaily.com.cn)
An imperial Chinese vase sold for over 9 million pounds on Nov 10 in Bonhams, a leading auctioneer in London, making it the highest priced Asian artwork in the city this year.
An imperial Chinese vase sold for over 9 million pounds on Nov 10 in Bonhams, a leading auctioneer in London. [Photo/China Daily]
The famille rose (fencai) turquoise-ground vase with a Qianlong seal mark stood out from 700 lots to fetch 9,001,250 pounds after keen and protracted bidding by three separate phone buyers. Its pre-sale estimate was 5 to 8 million pounds. Qianlong was an emperor of China’s Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). He reigned from 1735 to 1796.
Colin Sheaf, head of Asian Art at Bonhams, said the price sets the latest milestone in Bonhams’ growing international strength and occurs in one of the most exciting collecting areas.
"All things in classic Chinese taste are currently in huge demand and in this week’s sale Bonhams simply had the best material and more of it than anyone else."
Asaph Hyman, senior specialist with Bonhams Chinese Art Department, adds: “The interest in Chinese art continues to grow and the number of remarkable objects coming to auction is astonishing.”
Imperial ceramics have been sought after in London’s auction houses during the annually Asia Art Week, which runs from Nov 3 to 12 and includes a marathon of Chinese sale in the city.
On the Nov 9 auction on fine Chinese ceramics and works of art in Sotheby’s, the highest price fell on a large famille rose landscape dish with a seal mark of emperor Yongzheng, who ruled from 1723 to 1735.
The elaborately enameled dish was sold after a dramatic four-way telephone bidding battle, for 1,049,250 pounds.
In Christie’s, another top auctioneer in London, the leading lot on the Chinese sale on Nov 8 was also a piece of imperial court ceramic of the Yongzheng period.
An Asian private buyer purchased the famille rose moulded candlestick with 1,329,250 pounds, 30 times its pre-sale estimate.
Imperial ceramics have long been a favorite among Chinese buyers, said Hu Zhiyong, a specialist on Chinese porcelain.
"Imperial ceramics are known for their refinement and quality,” he said, "besides, their price remains strong. For example, imperial ceramics of emperor Daoguang’s reigning period (1820-1850) are priced roughly ten times they were around 2002.”
A Chinese buyer who traveled from Beijing to attend the London auctions said he had paid most attention on imperial ceramics during his stay, because owning something from the royal family makes him “feel proud”, and the entrepreneur believes the works from the imperial palace will bring good luck. He would rather remain anonymous.