Chinese Ming Moonflask used as doorstop brings $1.3 million at Sotheby’s



2015-06-26 11:22:56

Chinese Ming Moonflask used as doorstop brings $1.3 million at Sotheby’s

14 Sep 2012, 09:54 GMT+01

New York’s Asia Week continued in fine style yesterday (September 14), as the Sotheby’s Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art auction saw its best results in five years.

Achieving an impressive 20% increase on last year’s sale, the auction brought a total of $26,985,314 – exceeding the high estimate of $21.6 million.

Highlights of the sale included two items from very different backgrounds. A Jiajing Period Wucai 'Fish' Jar And Cover, consigned by the Walters Museum in Baltimore, brought a price of $1,986,500 (above an estimate of $500,000 - $700,000).

This was followed by a rare Ming Dynasty Yongle Period Blue And White Moonflask, which had spent decades in the collection of a single family and had until recently been used as a doorstop in their home. After noticing a similar item in a Sotheby’s advert, the family contacted the auction house and saw the flask smash its estimate of $600,000 - $900,000, eventually selling for $1,314,500.

“I am thrilled with the result of the first auction I have attended at Sotheby’s,” said new Head of the Chinese Works of Art Department at Sotheby’s New York, Dr. Tao Wang. “We saw exceptional demand across the sale which drove the total to such heights. Collectors from around the world were drawn to high-quality pieces with distinguished provenance particularly that of museums as can be seen with the $2 million Wucai 'Fish' Jar And Cover from The Walters Museum and the property from The Masaki Museum in Japan, as well as the large number of private US collections represented in the sale.”

Topping the sale was a Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Period Imperial Jade 'Ba Zheng Mao Nian Zhi Bao' Seal, which sold for $3,498,500 – almost trebling its high estimate of $1.2 million.

Other notable lots included a pair of 17th century Huanghuali Yokeback Armchairs, from the collection St. Matthias Church in British Colombia, which sold for sold for $758,500 and an Eastern Zhou Dynasty Archaic Bronze Wine Vessel dating from the 8th/7th Century BC which sold for $1,538,500.

“This is the highest total for a various owner Chinese Works of Art sale at Sotheby’s New York in over five years,” said Henry Howard-Sneyd, Vice Chairman of Asian Art at Sotheby’s. “The exceptional $27 million total is a testament to our global team work and especially the strength of the New York department which is now led by the recently appointed Dr. Tao Wang. This New York sale is the first major auction in this category globally this season and is a good indicator of the continuing international demand for the very best Chinese Art.”

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