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Qing Dynasty vase may fetch record price
By Wang Shanshan (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-12 05:42

An ancient vase with a floor price of HK$90 million (US$11.6 million) is expected to set a world record for a piece of Chinese art at an upcoming auction in Hong Kong.

The exquisite 16.5-cm-tall ceramic piece, displayed yesterday in Beijing, will go under the hammer at Sotheby's annual autumn auction on October 23.

The floor price for the vase is double the present record for ceramics from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) HK$44.92 million (US$5.4 million) set by a vase at a Sotheby's Hong Kong auction in June.

The current craze for Chinese art was illustrated in June when a blue-and-white ceramic jar made in the 14th century was sold for more than US$25 million at a Christie's auction in London, a world record for a Chinese, or Asian, work of art.

"We have been waiting for the right time to present this great treasure. The time is ripe now as the market for Chinese art is hot," Nicolas Chow, Sotheby's head of Chinese ceramics and works of art department, told China Daily yesterday.

Collectors from the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, the United States and Japan have shown interest in bidding, he added.

The seller is believed to be an unnamed overseas private collector.

The vase is expected to cause more of a sensation than in June, as it is a masterpiece representing the best craftsmanship of Chinese ceramics, which peaked in the 18th century, according to Chow.

The diminutive pear-shaped body was delicately potted out of immaculate white clay, a milky-white glaze was applied and then it was fired to a smooth silky finish in the imperial kilns in Jingdezhen, the millennium-old "capital of ceramics" in East China's Jiangxi Province.

It was enamelled in the workshops of the Forbidden City palace of Emperor Qianlong (1736-96) with meticulous detail, showing a pair of golden pheasants perched on a knotty trunk.

"Chinese art and antiques are currently highly desirable in the international market, with prices soaring for imperial porcelain, jade, and hardwood furniture from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing dynasties," said the latest report of London-based Christie's, the major competitor of Sotheby's.

(China Daily 10/12/2005 page1)

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