Famille-Rose ‘Hundred Deer’ Vase from Qianlong Period Fetches €4.15m at Christie’s Paris

Christie’s Art d'Asie sale was held in Paris on 13 December, totalling €9,561,250. The sale was led by a famille-rose ‘hundred deer’ vase from the Qianlong period, which sparked a 15-minute bidding battle and sold for €4.15m with buyer’s premium, contributing 43% of the sale total.

According to experts from the Value, ‘Hundred deer’ vase is highly coveted among ceramic collectors and hence a number of forged ‘hundred deer’ vases have sprung in the market. When it comes to buying ‘hundred deer’ vase, collectors need to pay extra attention to differentiate the authentic ones from the fakes.

Vases with this type of decoration are often known as 'hundred deer vases' - although in most cases the number ‘hundred’ is used loosely simply to mean 'many'. ‘Hundred deer’ vases such as the present piece carry not only a highly auspicious message, since the words for deer and good fortune (lu) are homophonous, and since the deer as well as the pine and peach trees depicted around the sides, are all symbols of longevity.

The picturesque scenes of deers in rocky, tree-strewn landscape were probably intended to represent deers in the imperial gardens and hunting parks. The theme of 'hundred deer' was adopted on porcelains since the middle Ming period.

This present vase is particularly outstanding because of the exquisite quality of the painting. The brushwork and the colours applied to the rocks, trees and deers are all rendered with realistic accuracy and artistic ingenuity. Examples of hu-shaped vases with this design are in various museum and private collections.

This famille-rose ‘hundred deer’ vase has been the subject of imitation starting from the mid to late imperial Qing, such as Daoguang and Guangxu periods. The imitated vases from the Guangxu, inscribed with sloppy seal marks, were potted in an abrupt and unnatural form with an uneven thickness of the pottery. With the rise of high-quality forged vases, one can’t tell the authenticity without touching and handling the piece in person, even for ceramic experts.

Estimated at €500,000-700,000, the famille-rose ‘hundred deer’ vase was highly-sought after at the sale. The vase was hammered down at €3.5m, seven times its estimate. Unlike other popular lots that saw strong interests from bidders in the room, telephone bidders and online bidders, the present lot was fought over by telephone bidders only.


Rare Et Important Vase 'cent Daims' en Porcelaine De La Famille Rose, Hu
Qing dynasty, Qianlong period.

Lot no.: 98
Height: 45cm
French private collection, acquired in the 1900s and thence by descent through the family.
Estimate: €500,000 - 700,000
Hammer price: €3,550,000
Price realized: €4,151,250


Auction details

Auction house: Christie’s Paris
Sale: Art d'Asie
Auction date: 2017/12/13
Sale total: €9,561,250