tag archives: hong kong

sold for US$37.7 million.

a northern song dynasty (960-1127) ru guanyao brush washer.

the most expensive piece of chinese ceramics ever sold at auction.

a highly important and extremely rare ru guanyao brush washer | northern song dynasty (960-1127)

sold for 294,287,500 HKD (US$37.7 million) | song-important chinese ceramics from the le cong tang collection | sotheby’s hong kong | 3 october 2017 | sale HK0747  | lot 5

photo credits sotheby’s

ru ware is the rarest type of chinese ceramics.  less than 100 pieces exist.  only four pieces are privately owned.  the remainder are part of museum collections.

13 pieces are part of the percival david collection, which has now been transferred to the british museum, on loan from soas university of london, where i earned my MA in asian art and archaeology, with a specialization in chinese ceramics.

it was my privilege to have direct exposure to this valuable collection under the direction of my academic advisor, dr. stacy pierson, who was then curator of the percival david foundation of chinese art.

‘arguably the greatest example of early ming blue and white porcelain in private hands.’

sold for US$29.5 million.

the second-highest price paid at auction for ming dynasty (1368-1644) porcelain.

an exceptionally large, fine, and important blue and white lobed ‘fish pond’ bowl | mark and period of xuande (r. 1425-1435)

sold to an asian private collector for US$29.5 million | sotheby’s hong kong | 5 april 2017 | sale HK0766 | lot 101

now on loan to the long museum, shanghai, china, for an upcoming exhibition that opens on 28 april 2017

photo credits sotheby’s

when my husband, bob, and i lived in london, i had the pleasure of meeting many brilliant scholars while i was completing my post graduate studies and masters degree in asian art at the british museum and the school of oriental and african studies (soas) at the university of london.

regina krahl, an brilliant chinese ceramics scholar, wrote ‘fishes in the imperial pond’, the essay in the sotheby’s catalog.

she described the bowl as:

‘…unrivaled in its design, its painting quality, shape and size…’

the ‘fish swimming in a lotus pond’ design is inextricably associated with daoist literature.  in ‘the pleasures of fishes’, a famous passage from the 4th century BC daoist classic zhuangzi, fish are associated with freedom of expression because they swim wherever they choose.

if you had the freedom to buy whatever you choose, would you pay an unprecedented price for an object of unrivaled quality?