Rare 18th-century bowl auctioned for $25 million in Hong Kong

The extraordinary Falangcai porcelains are regarded as the most dazzling Qing dynasty ceramic wares.
Mrigakshi Dixit
The auctioned bowl.
The auctioned bowl.

Sotheby's/Instagram 

A rare porcelain bowl has been auctioned for a whopping $25 million (198.2 million Hong Kong dollars) during an art sale in Hong Kong. The delicate bowl has a diameter of about 4.5 inches. 

The auction house Sotheby's has described the antique bowl as "highly important." 

According to CNN, it was most likely decorated at Beijing's imperial workshops during the reign of the Yongzheng Emperor, who ruled China from 1722 to 1735.

It belongs to a rare group of 18th-century ceramics known as "falangcai," which translates to "foreign colors." The rare Falangcai porcelains are regarded as the most dazzling Qing dynasty (1644-1911) ceramic wares.

The bowl's design features two swallows, an apricot tree, and a willow tree—quite popular designs during the Yongzheng period. It also includes an excerpt from a poem that may have been commissioned by the Wanli Emperor. 

“It is a gem of Imperial porcelain—the delicate, creamy white body having been painted by master court enamellers in Beijing in close proximity of the Qianlong Emperor,“ said Sotheby’s in an Instagram post.

This bowl was once one of a pair of bowls. It was first documented in a collection collated by Captain Charles Oswald Liddell, a Shanghai-based shipping merchant, near the end of the nineteenth century.

The pair was separated in 1929 when each was purchased separately for £150. According to Sotheby's, the bowl's "twin" can be found at the British Museum in London. 

This auctioned bowl changed hands several times over the years before ending up at auction. Barbara Hutton, an American socialite, was a previous owner of this vintage bowl, while Alice Cheng, a businesswoman and collector, paid 19.3 million dollars (151.32 million Hong Kong dollars) for it in 2006. 

“Dr. Alice Cheng’s Falangcai bowl broke a world record for Chinese art when it was sold in 2006 for HK$151.3 million/ US$19.3 million. It is a gem of Imperial porcelain—the delicate, creamy white body having been painted by master court enamellers in Beijing in close proximity of the Qianlong Emperor,” said Sotheby’s in the post.

Meanwhile, other items up for auction at the Chinese Works of Art Spring Sale Series included watches, handbags, vintage wines, vases, statues, and ancient treasures (from a jade seal to archers' rings). 

Myriad Chinese Arts also brought in nearly $208.5 million (1.64 billion Hong Kong dollars) at auction.

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board