Bonhams Hong Kong delivered another robust result with its finely curated auction of exceptional Chinese Imperial porcelain and works of art, with an impressive result of 90% sold by lot and achieving a total of HK$52,067,500 (including buyers' premium) for only 37 lots. The strong results came as a reassuring note against the recovering economic climate; proving once again that carefully selected lots of great rarity and with impeccable provenance from private collections are highly sought after by collectors worldwide.
The important European private collection (Lots 23-30) formed during the first half of the 20th century and by descent within the family, delivered a number of the sale highlights, boasting 100% sell-through rate. The very rare Imperial tianqi and qiangjin lacquer 'phoenix' chest and cover (Lot 26), Jiajing six-character mark and of the period (1522-1566), exceeded its pre-sale estimate of HK$1,000,000-1,500,000, selling for HK$4,380,000 to an important Asian buyer on the telephone after a series of enthusiastic bidding.
Other highlights from the same collection included:
• An exceptionally rare Imperial famille rose yellow-ground 'floral' bowl, six-character Qianlong mark and of the period (1736-1795) (Lot 25), was estimated at HK$800,000-1,200,000. Bearing the very rare Kaishu six-character mark which appears on only three other published examples, it sold on the day against fierce bidding on the telephones and in the room for multiples of its estimate at HK$ 3,660,000.
• A vestige of antiquity, an archaic bronze ritual food vessel, fangding, late Shang/early Western Zhou dynasty, (BC 12th/11th century) cast with a three-character pictogram in homage to the deceased ancestor Fuyi (Lot 27), also made HK$ 3,660,000, against an estimate of HK$1,400,000-1,800,000.
• Another archaic ritual vessel, a rare bronze wine vessel, gu, late Shang dynasty (BC 11th century) (Lot 28), sold for HK$ 2,340,000, against an estimate of HK$1,200,000 – 1,500,000.
Outstanding examples of Qing dynasty imperial porcelain proved to be very much in demand, with the exceptionally rare imperial doucai 'Eight Buddhist Emblems' stem bowl (Lot 20), Yongzheng six-character mark and of the period (1723-1735), selling for HK$ 3,420,000.
In the category of Chinese jades, a very rare yellow jade carving of a tapir, Qianlong (1736-1795) (Lot 12), was estimated at HK$500,000 - 800,000 and following frenzied bidding in the room and on telephones, finally sold for HK$ 2,700,000. The tapir came from the collection of Sir William Burrell (1861-1958) much of whose collection of more than 9,000 objects was donated to the City of Glasgow and is displayed in a specially built museum. Other notable results in this category, include the very pale green and russet jade carving of a recumbent qilin, 18th century (Lot 13), which sold for HK$2,220,000; and the very fine white and brown jade carving of four monkeys, 18th century (Lot 14), which sold for HK$1,250,000.
Chinese Buddhist and Daoist figures were much in demand, with a large and rare gilt-bronze figure of Maitreya, Kangxi period (1662-1722) (Lot 32), selling for HK$6,060,000; and an exceptionally rare and large pair of bronze figures of the Hehe Erxian, circa 1645-1660 (Lot 31), selling for HK$3,420,000.
Asaph Hyman, International Head, Chinese Art, commented: "We are delighted with the strong results demonstrating collectors' enthusiasm for rare works of art with strong provenance and look forward to welcoming the public to our forthcoming specially curated sale".
Xibo Wang, Head of Chinese Works of Art Department, Hong Kong, said: "This sale offered exceptional items, including works that once graced the imperial Ming and Qing palaces. Many of the pieces were coming to auction for the first time in generations having been held in well-known private collections across the world. The success of the sale underlines the importance to collectors of rarity and historical provenance."
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Today, the auction house offers more sales than any of its rivals. The main salerooms are in London, New York and Hong Kong. Sales are also held in the UK in Knightsbridge and Edinburgh; in the US, in San Francisco and Los Angeles; in Europe, in Paris and Stuttgart and in Sydney, Australia. Bonhams also has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of forthcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit bonhams.com