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Rare pair of Qinglong Dynasty vases set to fetch 2m pounds in UK auction

By Bo Leung in London | | Updated: 2017-04-13 22:25

A rare pair of vases from the Qianlong period (1736-1795) is expected to fetch 2 million pounds ($2.5 million) in the upcoming Christie's Asian Art sale in London.

Rare pair of Qinglong Dynasty vases set to fetch 2m pounds in UK auction 

A magnificent pair of famille rose ‘butterfly' double-gourd vases from the Qianglong period (1736-1795).  

The porcelain vases will be the centrepiece of the136 -lot auction on 9 May at Christie's headquarters on King Street.

The auction giant said it is the first time a pair of these rare Qinglong vases will go to auction. Previously, only four other single vases of this type have gone under the hammer.

Cherrei Tian, Christie's specialist in Chinese Works of Art and Paintings said the vases are not identical but are complementary to each other.

"The flowers on the vase are facing down, some rising and blooming in slightly different ways," Tian added, "The leaves and butterflies are painted so delicately, which is a contrast to the solid colours of the petals. It just shows the superb craftsmanship of the period."

The pair, recently discovered in a country home in England, were collected in the 1930s by an English lady from a noble family and have been passed down to the current owner.

Tian said, "They have never been on the market, it is the first time the vases has ever been offered at auction. For Christie's to offer them as a pair is really exciting."

She added that the vases reflected the lifestyle of the Emperor Qianlong who was particular with his taste, "Qianlong was an emperor who had everything, and so for him if it was not extreme, he would not have it."

Other highlights on offer at the Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art sale include a white marble two-handled vase, also from the Qinglong period. This piece is expected to go for 20,000-30,000 pounds.

A series of paintings which belonged to the late Sir Percy Cradock, the British ambassador to China from 1978 to 1983, will also go under the hammer. The collection includes a painting by Zhang Daqian (1899-1983).

Rare pair of Qinglong Dynasty vases set to fetch 2m pounds in UK auction 

Scholar and Pine by Zhang Daqian 

A second Asian art sale will take place at Christie's South Kensington branch on 12 May.

One of the standout pieces of that sale is a rare pair of Republic Period famille rose porcelain ‘landscape' seals signed by the renowned ceramicist He Xuren (1882-1940) and dated 1927. They were a gift to the Chinese Commander-in-Chief of the Kuomintang army, Zhu Peide, and bear his seal.

Rare pair of Qinglong Dynasty vases set to fetch 2m pounds in UK auction

A fine and rare pair of famille rose ‘landscape' seals 

Katie Lundie, associate specialist, Chinese Works of Art said, "Republic porcelain tends to attract young collectors looking for a more individual and free style, and can be distinguished from the pieces of the 18th and 19th centuries, which have a more rigid array of designs and were largely made under strict imperial supervision. They would be particularly desirable to a collector looking for a ‘one of a kind', specially-commissioned and historically-significant show piece."

Christie's Asian Art week last month in New York broke sales records, a success London is hoping to replicate.

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