|Sam Shum of Sotheby's displayed a 'guan' vase from the Southern Song dynasty in Hong Kong on March 2 (Reuters)|
WSJ reports a Southern Song dynasty-era 'guan' vase sold for 113.9 million Hong Kong dollars (US$14.7 million) at a Sotheby’s sale in Hong Kong on March 2. TIt was the third-highest price ever paid at auction for a Song ceramic.
The vase is part of the guan, or official, ware collection made for the imperial court of the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279) in Hangzhou. It has a grayish-blue monochromatic glaze with threadlike crackles, which developed in the kiln during the cooling-down process after the piece had been fired.
The buyer, Shanghai-based collector Liu Yiqian, paid 281.2 million Hong Kong dollars (US$36.3 million) by swiping his AmEx card at a Sotheby’s sale for a small Ming dynasty-era bowl dubbed the “chicken cup” in Hong Kong in April last year, setting a record for the most expensive Chinese porcelain ever sold at auction.
|The bowl, named for the chickens painted on its side, is one of 19 chicken cups known to exist in the world. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images|
|Graphic Source: WSJ.com|
Liu also bought a 600-year-old imperial embroidered silk artwork at a Christie’s sale in November last year for $348 million Hong Kong dollars ($45 million), setting yet another record for any Chinese work of art sold by an international auction house.
The massive thangka was entirely hand-worked with silk embroidery, depicting Raktayamari, ‘The Red Killer of Death’, a meditational deity in Mahayana Buddhism. Made for the Ming dynasty Yongle Emperor, the thangka is the only one of its kind in private hands, according to Christie’s. The two other known examples are both kept in the Jokhang Monastery in Lhasa, Tibet.
Reportedly, Liu is a character of controversy in the Chinese art collection world as he seems to have bought/sold some allegedly fake pieces. According to media, he started out as a Shanghai businessman who ran a handbag business and a taxi driver after finishing junior high school, and hit it big in the stock market.