The Most Expensive Chinese Porcelain in the World
The auction of Qing dynasty ceramics and artworks that demonstrated what Sotheby’s deputy chairman Nicolas Chow called the “monstrous” appetite of the Chinese market, a superb yellow ground famille-rose vase from the workshops of emperor Qianlong was the most expensive Chinese porcelain in the World sold for of HK$253 million ($32.4 million). This was a world record for Chinese porcelain at auction, and five times the amount of its high estimate.
The most expensive Chinese porcelain was bought by Hong Kong-based collector Alice Cheng, the sister of legendary collector and dealer Richard Chang, who moved from his native Shanghai to Hong Kong in 1949 and became one of the most respected names in the world of Chinese antiquities.
The sale topped a week of auctions in Hong Kong, which have collectively demonstrated that Chinese collectors are prepared to pay almost anything for what they like and that what they like, above all else, seems to be work linked to Chinese history. This was apparent across categories, from the sale of a pivotal early painting by contemporary artist Zhang Xiaogang that set its own record Monday to that of a white jade Qianlong seal reading “xintian zhuren” (“the ruler who believes in heaven”), which set a record on Thursday for the most expensive Chinese porcelain of white jade and imperial seals at auction when it went for HK$121.6 million ($16 million).
The record was established just this Spring in Beijing when Poly Auctions sold a masterpiece of Song Dynasty calligrapher Huang Tinjian for 436.8 million yuan (about $64 million). The record-setting Qing vase, which had an impeccable provenance stretching back to the 19th century, and had dwelt in the private collections of the Lord Loch of Drylaw and Alfred Morrison, came to auction from the collection of J.T. The vase takes its place as the second the most expensive Chinese porcelain art ever to be sold at auction.