A UK auction of Asian art was highlighted by a Chinese blue and white porcelain vase on Thursday (May 10), in a sale which was dominated by Chinese blue and white pottery.
The piece originated from the reign of the Yongle Emperor (1402-1424), the third leader of China's Ming Dynasty. It was the Yongle Emperor who relocated China's capital to Beijing and had the famous Forbidden City built there.
A superb example of Chinese pottery from the period, the item featured an intricate decoration of scrolling lotus flowers with crashing waves and a distinctive domed cover.
The stunning vase had interestingly been converted to a lamp prior to the sale and still bore the consequent fittings. Rather than this modification detracting from the value, however, the item rocketed to £450,000 ($723,254).
The vase was joined at auction by another Chinese blue and white item, this time a moonflask from the Yongzheng period (1722-1735).
The moonflask takes its name from its curved shape, which is likened to that of the Moon. Simply decorated with bold lotus flowers, the piece made £30,000 ($48,235), against an estimate of just £4,000-6,000 ($6,431-9,647), displaying an impressive 400% increase.
Moonflasks have proved themselves as superb investment pieces in previous auctions. A similar moonflask was sold in a US auction for $1.55m in May 2011, highlighting the increasing worth of Chinese porcelain in the current market.
A Chinese bowl set a new world record in April by selling for $26.7m, the highest-price ever paid for a piece of Song Dynasty pottery.