The One and Only Yongzheng Blue and White Vase Sold for HK$37m at Christie’s Hong Kong

Wrapping up Christie’s Hong Kong spring sales was the sale of Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art which realised a total of HK$116m (US$14.7m) and a sell-through rate of 81%. It was led by a Yongzheng blue and white ‘fruit and flower spray’ vase from the Larson collection that sold for HK$37m (US$4.7m).

Sherese Tong, Specialist, Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art

Imperial porcelains from the Yongzheng period are known for their relatively small size. Thus, the present blue and white vase with a height of 57cm is extremely rare. It is estimated at HK$32m-45m. Sherese Tong, Specialist, Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, introduced the vase to us before the sale. (check out our article: The One and Only Yongzheng Blue and White Vase from Larson Collection for more details).

The present one offered at the sale is the only blue and white example of its type. There is another example of similar shape in the collection of Nanjing Museum but that one is a celadon glazed vase. 

Vase of this enormous size with a globular body demonstrates the outstanding craftsmanship from the period since it is difficult to fire vessels with heavy weight. Without perfect control and precision, the vase would be out of shape or even collapse in the kiln. The classic, beautiful shape of this blue and white vase represents the zenith of craftsmanship. 

Ruben Lien, Senior Specialist in Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

The bidding started at HK$19m and the price steadily went up to HK$28m, a bid made by the client of Ruben Lien, Senior Specialist in Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art. All of a sudden, a new online bidder from the United States entered the competition by offering HK$30m, pressuring Ruben’s client to raise the price up to HK$31m. Without further bids, the auctioneer put the hammer down at HK$31m, below its low estimate, and sold for HK$37.26m (US$4.75m) to Ruben’s telephone bidder.

Auctioneer Liang-Lin Chen

The second highest price was realised by a rare huanghuali square-corner display cabinet from the late Ming dynasty. It was expected to fetch HK$14m-18m.

The cabinet consists of two sections. The upper section is enclosed by ‘ice-crackled’ lattice work panels, and the front removable panel doors open to reveal a single shelf with a removable centre stile. The lower section below has removable rectangular panel doors also fitted with a removable centre stile and the doors open to reveal the shelved interior with two drawers. The cabinet was hammered down at its low estimate HK$14m and sold for HK$16.92m (US$2.1m) after premium.

The third top lot of the sale was a blue and white ‘boys’ jar with Jiajing six-character mark, formerly kept in the collection of The Manno Museum of Art, Japan. It was estimated at HK$6m-8m.

The jar is painted with a scene of boys playing in a terraced garden beneath trees and clouds pretending to be adults, one seated in front of a landscape screen like an official with another at his side seated at a table with an open book, while a third kneels in front of them, other children pulling toy carts, holding lotus leaf parasols and playing other games.

It was hammered down at HK$7m and sold for HK$8.52m to the client of Chi-Fan Tsang, Head of Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art.

Top three lots

A Magnificent and Exceedingly Rare Blue and White ‘Fruit and Flower Spray’ Vase
Yongzheng six-character seal mark in underglaze blue and of period (1723-1735)

Lot no.: 3109
Height: 57cm
Frans August Larson (1870-1957) and thence by descent within the family
Estimate: HK$32,000,000 - 45,000,000
Hammer price: HK$31,000,000
Price realised: 37,260,000


A Magnificent and Extremely Rare Huanghuali Square-corner Display Cabinet
Late Ming Dynasty

Lot no.: 3124
Size: 197.4 x 109.5 x 50cm
Former Collection of Lu Ming Shi, Philippe De Backer, Brussels, Belgium
Estimate: HK$14,000,000 - 18,000,000
Hammer price: HK$14,000,000
Price realised: HK$16,925,000


A Fine Superb Blue and White ‘boys’ Jar
Jiajing Six-character Mark in Underglaze Blue and of the Period (1522-1566)

Lot no.: 3104
Height: 40.2cm

  • The Manno Museum of Art, Japan
  • Important Japanese and Chinese Art from the Collection of The Manno Art Museum, sold at Christie’s London, 21 June 2001, lot 87

Estimate: HK$6,000,000 - 8,000,000
Hammer price: HK$7,000,000
Price realised: HK$8,525,000

Auction summary

Auction house: Christie’s Hong Kong
Sale: Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art
Sale date: 29 May 2019
Lots offered: 81
Sold: 66
Unsold: 15
Price realised: 81%
Sale total: HK$116,263,750