London sales of Chinese art total £6.5m

LLB Reporter

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Art enthusiasts all around

Sotheby’s May series of Chinese art sales in London concluded today having realised a combined total of £6,537,125 / US$8,481,920 / HK$66,158,976 – a sum in excess of the pre-sale estimate of £3.4-5 million. A selection of ceramics and works of art across the disciplines of imperial porcelain, lacquer, jade and Buddhist sculpture were presented across two auctions comprising almost 300 lots: Important Chinese Art and Menagerie, An English Private Collection of Chinese Animal Carvings.

Key pieces in the Important Chinese Art sale had been unseen on the market in over 40 years and this factor, combined with their rarity, sparked intense interest from collectors. Returning to Sotheby’s London for the fourth time in its illustrious history, an extremely rare large carved cinnabar lacquer dish soared to £1.57 million, a sum almost one thousand times the price it achieved when last offered at auction in 1972.  At that time, when early carved lacquer was still much of a mystery, the dish fetched £1,600.

Robert Bradlow, senior director, Chinese Works of Art, Sotheby’s London, said: “Over the last several days, our exhibition spaces have seen a steady influx of Asian collectors, many of whom made the special trip to London to inspect and enjoy the rich and broad spectrum of works on display. One of the biggest draws was undoubtedly the carved lacquer dish, which had emerged from a private collection after almost half a century. Interest in the piece translated into determined bids this afternoon, in a sale that also saw strong prices for Qing imperial ceramics and good quality jade.”

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