Qianlong 'bajixiang' moonflasks auction with 59% increase



2015-06-26 13:16:42

Qianlong 'bajixiang' moonflasks auction with 59% increase

Sotheby's Fine Chinese Ceramics was topped by a pair of Qianlong 'bajixiang' moonflasks in London

An exquisite pair of Qianlong-marked 'bajixiang' moonflasks saw the highest bids in Sotheby's Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art auction,held in London last night (May 15).

Qianlong Baxijiang Moonflasks The moonflasks are decorated with the eight Buddhist auspicious symbols

Bearing the seal of the Qianlong emperor (1711-1799), a renowned patron of the arts and collector, the moonflasks were destined to sell well. However, they excelled past all expectations, bringing 2.3m ($3.6m) and a 58.5% increase on the 1.5m high estimate.

The moonflasks are decorated with eight petal-shaped panels radiating from a double vajra (a Buddhist symbol commonly found in Asian art). Each of these panels contains one of the eight auspicious Buddhist emblems (bajixiang).

White jade ruyi sceptre The sceptre was intended to bestow a long and happy life on the Nepali maharaja

Also starring in the sale was a white and russet jade ruyi, or sceptre, which was gifted by Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975) - former head of the Chinese Nationalist Government - to Maharaja Sir Padma Sumshere Jung Bahadur Rana of Nepal.

This fantastic provenance ensured that the finely carved piece, which is one of the largest of its size and incredibly rare, sold far beyond its 150,000 high estimate at 866,500 ($1.3m)- an outstanding 477% increase.

Ruyi of this quality and size are extremely scarce, as boulders large enough to make them are rarely found.

They are highly auspicious objects, with their shape and ornamentation representing the common Chinese propitious expression "as you wish".

Bonhams' own Chinese art auction - to be held in London later today (May 16) - will offer a pair of 18th century gilt-lacquer cabinets that may have been housed in Beijing's Forbidden City.

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