Neolithic Chinese Jade Ritual Vessel. Spring 2018

5000 Yr old Chinese jade ritual vessel.jpg

5,000 year old jade ritual vessel tops Bonhams Hong Kong Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Sale
HONG KONG.- Bonhams Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art auction on 29 May in Hong Kong got off to a remarkable start with the sale of a very rare archaic jade ritual cong vessel from the Liangzhu Culture (3,300 to 2,250 BC) dating back to the Neolithic Period, which was sold for a staggering HK$21,700,000 (US$2,765,886) against a low estimate of HK$3,000,000 to HK$4,000,000 (US$380,000-510,000).
In a crowded saleroom, the auctioneer hammered the lot following frenzied bidding from in the room and on the phone. The important vessel returns to its original area, as it was bought by a collector from Hangzhou, the location of the Liangzhu Culture.
Xibo Wang, Head of the Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art department, Bonhams Hong Kong said, “While there was strong interest from collectors in this piece, the outcome surpassed all our expectations. However, it is not surprising, considering its rarity and exceptional craftsmanship, which is particularly notable in the very delicate and precise quality of the carving and incised decoration, enhanced by the lustrous patina formed on the surface over thousands of years.”
The sale’s 63 lots totalled HK$88,142,500 (US$11,232,440), including premium, and achieved 80% sold by lot. The rare ceramics and works of art represented the breadth and depth of China’s cultural heritage from the Neolithic Period to the Qing Dynasty, including important private collections formed in Europe and Asia.
Asaph Hyman, Global Head, Chinese Art, commented, “Bonhams has successfully built a strong reputation for the quality of its sales in Asia. We have realised strong prices and selling rates for our sellers and offered important and rare objects for our buyers, superbly researched and presented in our catalogue and when on display. We are grateful to the continuous support of the global collectors and their appreciation of the outstanding Chinese works of art on offer, including some of the best of Chinese artistic history.”
Another prized object among collectors was the front cover lot – an exceptional Imperial white jade ‘phoenix’ vessel, gong, Qianlong (1736-1795), which sold for HK$11,140,000 (US$1,419,906) against a pre-sale estimate of HK$8,000,000-12,000,000 (US$1,000,000-1,500,000). The vessel masterfully inspired by archaic bronze forms can be numbered amongst the very finest jade carvings made during the Qianlong reign, in line with the Emperor’s personal taste.
An unusual European private collection consisted mainly of carved jade boats and rafts. The collection was formed in the 1930s-1950s and has not been seen on the market since it was formed. The highlight of the collection was a magnificent Imperial white jade carving of Zhang Qian on a raft, incised with Qianlong seal mark and of the period (1736-1795). After fierce bidding, it was finally secured by an Asian collector, selling for HK$7,540,000 (US$961,049) against an estimate of HK$1,200,000-1,500,000 (US$150,000-190,000).
Key highlights from the auction included:
• A large gilt-bronze figure of Guanyin and Shancai from the 17th century, which achieved HK$6,100,000 (US$ 777,507) (estimate at HK$5,000,000-8,000,000/US$640,000-1,000,000);
• A very fine and rare white jade carving of two boats from 18th/19th century, which made HK$3,700,000 (US$471,602) (estimate at HK$500,000-800,000/US$64,000-100,000).
Upcoming auctions will take place in San Francisco with Fine Asian Works of Art on 26 June and Asian Decorative Works of Art on 27 June; and in New York with Fine Chinese Snuff Bottles on 10 September.