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  • Chinese imperial bottle vases up 160.8% at Sotheby's London
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • bottleChineseimperialvases

Chinese imperial bottle vases up 160.8% at Sotheby's London

A pair of bottle vases from the court of the Qianlong emperor (1711-1799) has led Sotheby's auction of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art at $1.2m.

Qianlong vases
The vases display the Qianlong emperor's innovative tastes, combining western and Chinese designs



Held on November 5, the sale comes amid Asian Art in London, a 10-day celebration of the market featuring talks, tours and auctions.

The pair of vases sold for an impressive £782,500 ($1.2m), making a 160.8% increase on their £300,000 high estimate.

The Qianlong emperor was renowned as a major patron of the arts, and brought about a cultural flourishing in China during his reign. The vases exemplify his desire for innovation, using a green ground only developed in the Qianlong period.

The design features western acanthus leaves in the rococo style, bringing an exotic element to the decoration, while the tradition lotus scrolls are interspersed with the bajixiang, the eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism.

Also selling with spectacular results was a tea chest from the Qing dynasty (circa 1745), which was estimated at up to £30,000 but exceeded expectations by 1,308% to sell for £422,500 ($674,682).

Decorated with the Royal Arms of Sweden, the chest was likely made for Frederick, King of Sweden (1720-1751). It still retains all of the original tea canisters, and is a superb display of the western taste for Chinese decorative art at the time.

Imperial gilt bronzes have seen fine form at auction recently, and Sotheby's sale did not disappoint, with a Kangxi period (1654-1722) figure of Amitayus, the Buddha of infinite life, selling at £542,500 ($866,307) against a £300,000 high estimate - a 74.1% increase.

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  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • bottleChineseimperialvases