Auction prices break all records

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 May, 2005, 12:00am

World records tumbled on the second day of a Christie's auction of Chinese treasures at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.

A rare blue and white basin of the early Ming dynasty's Yongle period (1403-1425) fetched nearly $30.4 million, well over double the former record of $13 million.

The auction house said the piece was one of only three bowls of its type in private collections to have appeared at public auction.

Others are in prized collections at the Beijing Palace Museum, Taipei's National Palace Museum and the British Museum.

'The basin is unusually large; an object of this size would have required expert potting skill in order to maintain its shape during the firing process, which probably accounts for their limited production,' said a Christie's spokesman.

The auction record for a pair of imperial Qing famille-rose jars was also broken when a set from the Qianlong period (1736-1795) sold for $24.2 million. The jars represent the ultimate refinement of a decorative technique named fahua that appeared first in the Ming dynasty, the auction house said.

Meanwhile, the painting Deer in an Autumn Forest, by 16th century Italian artist Giuseppe Castiglione, was bought for nearly $20.3 million, a record for the artist. Castiglione was the court painter to three Qing dynasty emperors.

'The painting carries with it eight collector's seals of the Qianlong emperor, signifying that it was given the highest accolade,' said the spokesman.