Christie’s Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art sale took place in London on 7 November. It recorded a sale total of £8.5m (buyer’s premium included) and a sell-through rate of 63.5%. The most expensive lot was a pair of Huanghuali Horseshoe-back Armchairs, which was hammered down for £750,000 within its estimate. The other three lots with high prices realized were all hammered down for prices exceeding their pre-sale estimates.
The winning lot was a pair of Huanghuali Horseshoe-back Armchairs from Ming dynasty, 17th century. Once belonged to a prominent dealer of Chinese furniture Grace Wu Bruce, this pair of armchairs carries an estimate of £800,000 – 1,200,000 (USD 1,060,000 - 1,590,000). On each chair, the sweeping crest rail terminates in outswept hooks above shaped spandrels, and forms an elegant curve above the back splat decorated with an openwork four-lobed cartouche. The lot was hammered down for £750,000 and sold for £908,750 (US$1,194,098) with buyer’s premium.
The following lot was a Famille Rose Blue and White ‘Nine Peaches’ Vase, carrying an estimate of £300,000 – 500,000 (USD 397,500 - 662,500). It was made from Wang Bu, one of the second generation of porcelain painters at Jingdezhen. Wang Bu’s works have been highly sought after by collectors in mainland China. This vase was hammered down for £600,000, a double of its estimate. It was sold for £728,750 (US$957,578) with buyer’s premium.
The third top lot fell to a Bronze Ritual Wine Vessel and Cover from early Western Zhou dynasty (11th -10th Century BC), carrying an estimate of £80,000 – 120,000. There is a three-character inscription cast to the interior of the base and in reverse to the interior of the cover reading zuo bao yi. It once belonged to a renowned collector Wu Dacheng from the late Qing dynasty. The wine vessel was hammered down for £500,000, six times of its estimate, and sold for £608,750 (US$799,898) with buyer’s premium.
The fourth one was a Smokey Rock Crystal Figure of Amitabha from the 19th century, with an inscription of a four-character seal mark reading 'Wan Fo Lou cang' which may be translated as 'Collection of the Pavilion of Ten Thousand Buddhas'. It carried a pre-sale estimate of £8,000 - 12,000 and was hammered down for £350,000 (US$459,900), 43 times of its estimate, after an intense bidding war. It was sold for £428,750 (US$563,378).
On the other hand, an Ivory Figure of a Seated Lady from Qianlong period (1736-1795) went unsold despite carrying a high estimate of £200,000 - 300,000. The cold reception from buyers could be due to the UK government’s latest proposal to ban the sale of ivory regardless of age.
A VERY FINE AND RARE IMPERIAL IVORY FIGURE OF A SEATED LADY, PROBABLY AN IMPERIAL CONSORT. QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795).
Lot no.: 114
- Collection of Mrs. Frank Lewis Hough.
- Christie’s London, 15 May 2007, lot 61.
- Property of an Important Private Asian Collector
Estimate: £200,000 - 300,000 (USD 265,000 - 530,000)
Top four lots with highest prices realized
AN EXTREMELY RARE AND IMPORTANT PAIR OF HUANGHUALI HORSESHOE-BACK ARMCHAIRS, QUANYI. MING DYNASTY, 17TH CENTURY.
Lot no.: 150
Size: 68 x 53.3 x 91.5cm (each)
- With Grace Wu Bruce.
- Property from a Distinguished Private Collection
Estimate: £800,000 - 1,200,000
Hammer price: £750,000
Price realized: £908,750 (US$1,194,098)
A FAMILLE ROSE BLUE AND WHITE 'NINE PEACHES' VASE. WANG BU (1898-1968)
Lot no.: 262
- Private German Collection, amassed in the mid-20th century.
- Phillips, London, 12th November 2001, lot 159.
- The collection of Peter Wain, London.
Estimate: £300,000 - 500,000
Hammer price: £600,000
Price realized: £728,750 (US$957,578)
A BRONZE RITUAL WINE VESSEL AND COVER, YOU. EARLY WESTERN ZHOU DYNASTY (11TH-10TH CENTURY BC)
Lot no.: 1
- Collection of Wu Dacheng (1835-1902).
- From the private collection of a gentleman of title, acquired in Hong Kong in 1966.
Estimate: £80,000 - 120,000
Hammer price: £500,000
Price realized: £608,750 (US$799,898)
A SMOKEY ROCK CRYSTAL FIGURE OF AMITABHA. 19TH CENTURY.
Lot no.: 42
Estimate: £8,000 - 12,000
Hammer price: £350,000
Price realized: £428,750 (US$563,378)
Auction house: Christie’s London
Sale: Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art
Auction date: 2017/11/7
Sale total: £8,518,375
No. of lots: 362
Average price per lot: £23,531
Sell-through rate: 63.5%
(All prices realized have included buyer’s premium unless otherwise specified)