An extremely rare and unusually ornate gilt bronze "parrot jar" was the top performing lot at an Asian art sale, which was held in New York on December 23. The parrot jar achieved $200,000, selling at the very top of its $180,000-200,000 pre-auction estimate.
The auction also featured a plethora of antique furniture, painted scrolls and culturally significant artefacts and ornaments. Its success further underlines the current profitability of the Asian art market, which having experienced a boom period during the first part of 2012, is currently stabilising.
The parrot jar - which is decorated with a host of traditional imagery, including birds, flora and fauna, thus its nickname - was bought by an unknown bidder during the auction. China's passion for repatriating its artistic heritage on a larger scale, however, is currently being felt across the globe.
China now has the world's third highest number of millionaires at 1.4m, having added 193,000 in the space of a year according to Boston Consulting Group's 2012 global wealth report. Duly the sale of Asian collectibles has seen an increase: both first and second place on the Wikicollecting.org top 10 postage stamp sales of 2012 are held by the Chinese stamp The Whole Country is Red.
This upsurge of interest in the Asian collectibles market could be explained via the results of a recent Barclays Wealth report, which concluded that the Chinese interest in owning collectibles, either for portfolio diversification purposes or as status symbols, is larger than that in the West. The country's wealthiest individuals have 17% of their money placed in treasure assets, compared with just 9% in the US and 7% in the UK, the report found.
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