2004, a Yongzheng-period celadon-glazed amphora went under hammer at Christie’s Hong Kong, sold for over HK$17.4m at last, set the world record price for a Qing monochrome porcelain at that time. 13 years later, this precious antique appears at Christie’s Hong Kong again, this time offered as a single lot stand-alone sale.
This amphora has two powerful dragon handles on the shoulders, as if the dragons are biting the cup-shaped mouth of the amphora, drinking the wine stored inside. Some scholars believe that the resplendent bluish-green glaze harks back to the Longquan celadon wares made in the Song dynasty. Apparently, this amphora was inspired by Tang dynasty pottery prototypes.
Amphoras from (left to right) National Museum of China, Christie's Hong Kong, National Museum of History
During the Tang dynasty, shapes of specific wares were influenced by Central Asia and Western Asia culture, and amphora was one of them. Similar examples can be seen at museums in Mainland and Taiwan, the amphora (60.8cm) in National Museum of China, and the white-glazed amphora (57cm) in National Museum of History.
The shape of current lot resembles these two amphoras, so as the ribbed neck of it. As the Yongzheng amphora was modeled after the Tang ones, there must be difference between them, such as the shape of the belly part, and the motifs on the shoulder.
For your information, the Yongzheng amphora is a high value lot, and Christie’s Hong Kong has raised the minimum deposit of high value lot from HK$1m to HK$1.5m.
A Magnificent Imperial Tang-Style Celadon-Glazed Amphora, Yongzheng Mark And Of the Period (1723-1735)
Auction House: Christie's Hong Kong
Sale: The Yongzheng Emperor’s Double-Dragon Amphora
Estimate: On Request