Three exquisite jade pieces helped Sotheby's Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art auction on its way to a 73.3% increase on estimate in London yesterday (May 16).
The sale realised a total of £12.9m ($20.4m), against an estimate of £6.4m-9.2m ($10.1m-14.5m). It is yet another superb result for Sotheby's, adding to the success of its April Chinese ceramics auctions, which saw a Song dynasty bowl set a new world record of $26.7m.
Sotheby's Robert Bradlow commented on the auction: "We are thrilled with the results of today's sale, which follow on from the success of the sales staged by Sotheby's in Hong Kong last month.
"We saw activity from across Asia, and the results demonstrate the continued demand for well-priced superior-quality works of art in this collecting category."
The top lot of the sale was a white and russet jade brushpot from the Qing dynasty. The exquisitely carved piece, featuring scenes from the Land of Immortals, made an impressive £1.5m ($2.4m), against an estimate of £250,000-350,000. The sale price translates to a 343.7% increase on estimate for the item.
A similar brushpot, made during the Qianlong period of the Qing dynasty, brought £553,250 ($883,153), against a high estimate of £120,000.
Another white and russet jade item, this time an understated buffalo carving, saw an increase of 167.3%, when it sold for £668,450 ($1.05m). The buffalo, also from China's Qing dynasty, went to auction with an estimate of £150,000-250,000. The piece came from the "Jersey Jades" collection of the Earl and Countess of Jersey.
The auction once again displayed the buying power of investors from China, who have seen the country's art market overtake the US as the world's largest.