Christie’s Achieves Remarkable Sale with Linyushanren Collection Despite Setback in Blockbuster Ding Ware

Christie’s recent New York sale offered a series of exceptional Chinese ceramics spanning 10th to 14th century, from the Collection of Linyushanren, a distinguish Japanese collector. The blockbuster lot, a Ding Russet-Splashed Black-Glazed Conical Bowl from Northern Song Dynasty, fell short of expectation and sold for a price below estimate (US$4m, as the Value learnt from a reliable source), but the sale still managed to achieve a remarkable 98 percentage sold by lot, only one of 42 lots offered was bought-in.

The Ding bowl is an exemplary piece of its kind, and its shape and glaze perfectly reflect the aesthetics of Song ceramics. The rarity of the bowl is highlighted by its conical shape, considered as one of the best types among all other Song bowls, and its massive size, with a 19cm diameter, stands out as an XL version from bowls of the same kind.

Ding ware, one of the Five Famous Kilns in Song dynasty, is mostly known for its white wares. It is extremely rare to see Ding wares in black, even rarer for black Ding wares of high quality. The present lot is the only known Ding conical bowl covered inside and out with a lustrous black glaze streaked with russet splashes. Splashes radiate from the center towards the mouth rim where the glaze thins to russet brown.

It was previously auctioned at Sotheby’s New York in 1980 and became the part of the collection of The Manno Art Museum. It then belonged to Sen Shu Tey, a respected antique store in Japanese. The bowl is well-preserved in a perfect condition.

The price opened at US$2.4m and moved up to US$3.5m after five bid increments. The auctioneers asked for higher bids, but in vain. He put the hammer down at a price below estimate US$4m and sold the bowl for US$4.2m with premium included. Nevertheless, many collectors and connoisseurs had expected it to fetch a much higher price, maybe more than double its estimate.

According to specialists from the Value, the Black-Glazed Ding Ware is a museum-level ceramic piece that collectors specializing in Song ceramics would find it appealing. Although ceramics dated from Song dynasty or earlier have seen growing popularity in the market, the demand is still lower than that for works from Qing dynasty. For investors looking for fast money, they need to be careful and stay cautious because the increase in market prices for Song ceramics could take longer, comparing with the return in Qing ceramics.


Top three lots

A Highly Important Ding Russet-splashed Black-glazed Conical Bowl

Lot no.: 506
Diameter: 19cm

  • Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Bernat.
  • Sotheby Parke Bernet New York, 7 November 1980, lot 91.
  • The Manno Art Museum, Osaka, no. 434.
  • Christie's Hong Kong, 28 October 2002, lot 515.
  • Sen Shu Tey, Tokyo.

Estimate On Request (The Value has learnt it was estimated at US$4,000,000)
Hammer price: US$3,500,000
Price realized: US$4,212,500


A Very Rare and Important Painted Cizhou 'Fish' Truncated Meiping
Northern Song-Jin Dynasty (960-1234)

Lot no.: 513
Height: 25.1cm

  • The Takeji Yamada Collection, Ashiya. 
  • Mayuyama, Tokyo.
  • The Ataka Collection.

Estimate: US$500,000 - 700,000
Hammer price: US$1,450,000
Estimate: US$1,752,500

A Very Rare and Important Guan-type Longquan Celadon Hu-shaped Vase
Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279)

Lot no.: 530
Height: 22.5cm
The Ataka Collection.
Estimate: US$40,000 - 60,000
Hammer price: US$900,000
Price realized: US$1,092,500


Auction summary

Auction house: Christie’s New York
Sale: The Classic Age of Chinese Ceramics - The Linyushanren Collection, Part III
Sale date: 2018/3/22
Lots offered: 42
Sold: 41
Unsold: 1
Sold by lot: 98%
Sale total: US$12,832,750