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Ming Dynasty Bowl Sells for $18 Million

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Published on Oct 8, 2013

A blue and white palace bowl from the Chenghua period (1465-87) sold for US$18 million at a lively Sotheby's auction of Chinese ceramics and works of art in Hong Kong on Tuesday (October 8) that also saw several records broken.

The bowl, bought by local Chinese ceramics dealer William Chak, is the second most expensive piece of Ming porcelain ever sold at auction. The record is held by a blue and white Meiyingtang vase sold by Sotheby's in Hong Kong for US$21,620,000 in October 2011.

"Because this Chenghua palace bowl, I think this is one of the best Chenghua palace bowls in the world. One of the best. And such is so important. This bowl, the Chenghua king privately used. And this bowl, at the Ming record, already telling is making by the king, privately enjoyed. So that's the most important one thing," said Chak, adding he was pleased the bowl was staying in Hong Kong after fierce international bidding.

Sotheby's Asia deputy chairman, Nicholas Chow, said Ming porcelain was still hugely in demand.

"We were thrilled with the price of the palace bowl. It's the second highest price for Ming porcelain ever and it's in a field that is very, very classic. We had participation from American buyers, European bidders, and of course Asian. I think it's in a field of collection that is very international and I think that it's an extraordinary price," he said.

A rare Tang dynasty (618-907) dry lacquer head of Buddha from the 90-year-old Japanese collector Sakamoto Goro broke a world record for early sculpture, fetching US$5.3 million, a million and a half over it's top estimate.

"Basically it was two western, probably the two foremost western dealers in the world. It was Guiseppe Eskenazi of London versus Jim Lally of New York, and representing I suppose, a couple of different western buyers. This was a world record for early sculpture. It was extraordinary," said Chow.

Sotheby's, which is celebrating 40 years in Asia, pulled out all the stops for its Autumn sale, one of two annual offerings in the territory.

A Qing imperial porcelain vase broke a record for monochrome porcelain selling for $11.4 million USD, going almost ten times over its estimate.

A Yongle gilt-bronze Shakyamuni Buddha from a private Italian collection broke the world auction record for a Chinese sculpture, selling for $30 million U.S. dollars far exceeding its estimate of US$6.4 million.

Organisers said the buyer, Zhen Huaxing, of Zhongshan Wujuezhai Culture and Art Company had bought it to keep the artefact in China.

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