A rare Chinese Yongzheng Double Dragon amphora sold for $18.1m in a dedicated sale in Hong Kong last night.
That figure represents a colossal 17.1% per annum return on the $2.2m paid for the same vase back in 2004.
The vase is unusually large for an amphora of this type
While it was produced sometime between 1723 and 1735, it borrows freely from the styles of different eras.
Chinese porcelain collectors appreciate subtle nods to previous dynasties.
The shape is based on vessels from the Tang era (8th century AD), while the blue colouring originates from the Song dynasty (AD 960-1279).
It’s thought the vase may have been made under the supervision of Tang Ying, a virtuosic ceramicist and head inspector at the imperial kiln from the mid-1720s onward.
Ying is known to have carried out extensive research on historic glazes.
Pola Antebi, international director of Chinese art at Christie’s, explained before the sale: “This magnificent amphora is one of the masterpieces of Qing Imperial ceramics.
“It is a testament of the ingenuity and ability of the Yongzheng-period ceramicists…
“The Yongzheng Emperor took great interest in the porcelains made for his court and commissioned items made in antique styles. This amphora draws a number of influences from antiquity.”
This vase was once in the collection of businesswoman Maruja Baldwin (1920-1997), who was married to the grandson of legendary California real-estate mogul EJ Lucky Baldwin (1828-1909).
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