The Qing Dynasty period of antiques relates to the period of time during which the Qing Dynasty ruled China, from 1644 to 1912.
The Qing Dynasty, also known as the Manchu Dynasty, succeeded the Ming Dynasty by means of a peasant rebellion led by the Manchus, a Chinese ethnic minority originating in Manchuria. It was the last of the royal dynasties to rule in China, and during its reign the territory of the empire trebled in size, with the population rising from 150 million to 450 million.
The height of the dynasty’s power came during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor from 1736 to 1796. The emperor was a major patron of the arts and during this time Chinese creativity flourished in such areas as pottery, ceramics and the applied arts including enameling, metal work and lacquer work. Some of the most valuable artworks of the Qing Dynasty period were created during this time.
The Emperor commissioned the ‘Siku Quanshu’, a catalogue of works on Chinese culture that spanned 36,000 volumes, featured approximately 3,450 complete works and took more than 20 years to complete. He was also a prolific writer himself, publishing close to 40,000 poems and 1,300 prose texts amongst his collected writings.
Sales of Qing Dynasty period antiques have seen some of the highest prices ever paid at auction for Chinese art and artefacts. Notable sales include:
- A pair of famille-rose 'melon' teapots marked with the Imperial Qianlong seal, sold for £1,341,600 by Bonhams in May 2011-06-15
- A 24m-long Chinese silk scroll (circa 1739) depicting military movements of the Imperial Army sold for £18 million in March 2011 by the Marc Labarbe auction house in Toulouse
- A large Qianlong-period pink-enamelled blue and white moonflask with the Imperial seal, sold for £9.7 million (123,860,000 HKD) by Christie’s in December 2010
- A Qianlong famille-rose floral medallion bottle, enamelled in the Imperial Palace workshops, sold for approximately £11 million (140,660,000 HKD) by Sotheby’s in October 2010
- A massive Qing Dynasty, Qianlong period Imperial white jade ‘xintian zhuren’ seal, sold for £9.5 million (121,620,000 HKD) in October 2010
- A Qianlong-period celadon-glazed carved baluster vase with the Imperial seal, sold for $7,922,500 by Christie’s in March 2011-06-15
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