Record-breaking Chinese artworks sold abroad in 2017

  • ASEAN+
  • Sunday, 31 Dec 2017

Precious item: Nicholas Chow, deputy chairman for Sotheby’s Asia and the international head and chairman of the Chinese Works of Art department, showing a rare Ru Guanyao brush washer after it sold for US37.7mil (RM153.3mil) during an auction in Hong Kong in October. — Reuters

CHINESE artworks were keenly pursued on the market this year, with the number of auction items becoming bigger and bidding price getting higher.

Many auction houses overseas held special auction sessions for Chinese arts. “Made-in-China” antiques were the preferred lot.

During 2017, precious Chinese arts fetched high prices at auctions overseas. Some examples:

1. Chinese vase sells for a record 5mil Swiss francs (US$5.18mil or RM21mil) at a Geneva auction house on Sept 21.

This was 10,000 times its original valued price of between 500 to 800 Swiss francs (RM2,000 to RM3,300).

According to the catalogue of Geneve-Encheres auction house, the 60cm-tall vase, which depicts three blue dragons against a yellow backdrop, is from the 20th century but it bears an unverified mark most likely of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

2. Chinese vase breaks Irish record at auction.

Auctioneers had expected this vase to sell for €1,200 (RM5,800) but ended up being sold in Ireland for €740,000 (RM3,587,763) in June. It is an Irish record for a piece of art sold at auction.

The Qing Dynasty blue and white double-gourd vase with scroll handles was sold by Sheppard’s auctioneers in Durrow, County Laois, southwest of Dublin.

3. Chinese vases sell for £14mil (RM76,465,900) in London.

A pair of rare Chinese famille rose vases from the Qing Dynasty sold for £14mil at Christie’s auction house in London in May, making it one of the top 10 most expensive Chinese ceramics sold at auction.

The vases, made in the 18th century for the court of the Qianlong Emperor, were purchased in the early 1930s by an English buyer who passed them on to the current owner who “had no idea that she had such amazingly important pieces in her collection”, according to Rosemary Scott, the Chinese ceramics specialist at Christie’s.

4. Classical painting sells for US$49mil (RM199.3mil) in New York.

A 13th-century classical Chinese scroll painting fetched that price from an anonymous bidder at a New York auction in March.

The ink brush Song Dynasty (960-1279) painting titled Six Dragons once belonged to Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty.

It was transported to Japan in the early 20th century and then became part of the collection of the Osaka-based Fujita Museum.

The four-metre-long painting by Cheng Rong was cataloged in Shi Qu Bao Ji, an inventory of the Qing Dynasty’s imperial collections.

Chen Rong was a master of Chinese ink dragon painting, and has left about 25 pieces of artworks worldwide.

5. Chinese vase mistaken as fake sold for US$1mil (RM4.06mil) in the United Kingdom.

A Chinese antique vase that was previously mistaken as a replica was sold for £810,000 at Birmingham auctioneers Fellows in February, a record price for the house.

The vase, intricately decorated with small golden carp, lotus blossoms and undulating grass, dates from the Jiajing reign of China’s Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). — China Daily/Asia News Network

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