Qianlong Falangcai Poppy Bowl Hammered Down for HK$148m, Below Its Presale Estimate HK$200m

Following the successful sale of a Qianlong reticulated vase, a Qianlong Falangcai Poppy Bowl also reached the HK$100m benchmark and was hammered down at HK$148m (US$18.88m). Though the price fetched was remarkable, but it was actually far from its presale estimate of HK$200m (US$25.5m).

The bowl is 11.8cm wide, with a blue-enamel mark and period of Qianlong. It is exquisitely enamelled on the exterior with an intricate design of poppies issuing from rockwork, with a butterfly depicted fluttering overhead. It has a fourteen-character poem ‘Yu Meiren’ (Lady Yu) on the bowl.

The bowl had been kept in a French private collection and was rediscovered by Julian Thompson, the then-chairman of Sotheby’s Asia. It was offered at a 2003 auction during Sotheby’s 30th anniversary and was sold for nearly HK$29.2m after premium. The bowl has remained in the same collection over the past 15 years. The bowl was expected to fetch in excess of HK$200m (US$25.5m) at this present sale.

Julian Thompson, former Chairman of Sotheby's Asia

Nicolas Chow, Chairman of Sotheby’s Asia

The sale was originally scheduled at 11am (local time in Hong Kong), but it didn’t start until 12pm because the prior sale offering the collection of Sir Quo-Wei Lee was a huge success. Even though the sale of the Qianlong Falangcai Bowl was postponed, the saleroom was still packed with people who were here for the bowl.

The auctioneer opened the bidding at HK$120m and received five bid increments only. The bowl was hammered down at HK$148m and sold for HK$169m (with premium included) to a telephone bidder, who had also acquired the Qianlong reticulated vase this morning. The collector spent nearly HK$320m for these two Qianlong Imperial porcelain masterpieces.

An Extremely Fine and Magnificent Imperial Falangcai 'Poppy' Bowl
Blue-Enamel Mark and Period of Qianlong

Lot no.: 1
Diameter: 11.8cm

  • A French collection since the early 20th century, by repute.
  • Sotheby's Hong Kong, 26th October 2003, lot 21.

Estimate upon request (Sotheby’s expected it to fetch in excess of HK$200m)
Hammer price: HK$148,000,000
Price realised: HK$169,413,000

Auction house: Sotheby’s Hong Kong
Sale: The Falangcai Poppy Bowl
Lot offered: 1
Sale date: 3 October 2018