A collection of teapots, created in honour of the Chinese master Zu Qizhan, is to star in an online auction tomorrow (June 22).
The sale will feature two large collections of both Chinese teapots and coins, with the purple clay set as the stand-out item. Other auction highlights are expected from a 1906 Tai-Ching gold coin which, in uncirculated condition, will go to auction with a high-end estimate of $40,000.
The magnificent teapot set was created to celebrate Zu Qizhan's 100th birthday. Born in 1892, Zhu Qizhan was one of the leading Chinese painters and an instant hit with collectors. Noted for his bold technique, Qizhan bridged the gap between traditional and modern Chinese styles, incorporating western elements into his work.
The eight piece set stands as one of just 90 extant examples designed by the great purple clay master, Gu Zingzhou, with the assistance of 10 expert artists from the Yixing national factory. Yixing clay, whose usage dates to the Song dynasty, is renowned in the world of Chinese ceramics for its distinctive purple colouration.
Each of the teapots features a unique design from Zhu Qizhan and comes with theoriginal certificates of authenticity. Also included in the lot is a book containing original calligraphy from the great master and fellow artist, Cheng Shifa. It is expected to bring $250,000-300,000.
The current world record for a purple clay teapot stands at $2m, which was achieved in Beijing by a 1948 Gu Zingzhou piece in 2010.
The auction will also feature a further selection of purple clay teapots, with a Qing dynasty example from master Wu Han Wen expected to bring $60,000.
With the current boom in the Chinese market, Paul Fraser Collectibles expects the teapots to sell with strong results. The respected Mei Moses index reported a 20.6% increase in value for traditional Chinese art collectibles in 2011, a greater increase than any other area.
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