A porcelain bowl, known as the Ruyao Washer
Hong Kong - Arabstoday
An extremely rare Chinese porcelain bowl fetched nearly $27 million Wednesday, smashing presale estimates by about three times, as Sotheby’s wrapped up its season’s sale in Hong Kong.
The modest-looking imperial ceramic bowl that was made around 900 years ago had been expected to fetch up to HK$80 million, but it was snapped up by an unidentified telephone bidder for HK$208 million.
The price sets a new record for a piece of ceramic from the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), according to Sotheby’s, dwarfing the price for a “Guan” Mallet Vase, which went for HK$67.52 million in 2008.
“The piece is possibly the greatest masterpiece of Song ceramic that we have ever offered in Hong Kong,” Sotheby’s Asia deputy chairman Nicolas Chow said.
“It is a piece of Ruyao, which is probably the most fabled type of Chinese ceramic ever to have been created.”
Eight hopefuls competed for over 15 minutes during intense bidding for the extraordinarily rare flower-shaped bowl, which Chow said drew worldwide bidders but “mostly from Asia.”
Named after one of five large kilns operating under the Song, “Ru” ceramics are the rarest in China, and it is estimated that only 79 complete pieces remain in the world, most in museums.
The “Ruyao Washer” is the only bowl that features an organic floral shape and an opaque glaze.
The interest and price is testament to the vitality of Asia’s art market, which has witnessed explosive growth over the past decade – despite disappointing sales last year amid a fragile global economic outlook.
Sotheby’s five-day sale – an event viewed as a yardstick of Asian collectors’ sentiment – suggested a rebound in the market.
Hong Kong has emerged as one of the biggest auction hubs alongside New York and London, fueled by China’s economic boom and demand from Asian collectors, especially cash-rich mainland Chinese buyers.