Chinese billionaire buys vase for $14.7 million
Updated: 2015-04-09 04:31
By AMY HE in New York(China Daily USA)
A Shanghai-based billionaire art collector paid $14.7 million for a Song dynasty vase at an auction at Sotheby's in Hong Kong, one of the largest sums ever paid at an auction for a piece from that dynasty.
Liu Yiqian, chairman of Sunline Group and one of the richest people in China, added a southern Song dynasty vase to his collection. He will display it at the Long Museum in Shanghai, which he and his wife own, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The vase was part of the imperial court in Hangzhou and is about 8 1/2 inches tall. Bidding began at $48 million HKD (about $6.2 million). Liu's winning bid on Tuesday made the item the third-highest winning price for a Song ceramic at an auction, and Sotheby's now holds the top three prices in the category, the auction house said in a release.
"At Sotheby's Hong Kong this week we brought together a range of outstanding offerings — from the classic monochrome Song Dynasty Guan vase to the strikingly colorful Swatches of the Dunkel collection, and from the misty landscapes of Zhang Daqian's China to the vineyards of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in Burgundy," said Kevin Ching, Sotheby Asia's CEO, in a statement. "More global collectors than ever before participated in person or via our digital platforms."
Nicholas Chow, Sotheby's Asia deputy chairman and international head of Chinese works of art, said at a post-auction conference that the vase acquired by Liu is a "masterpiece of understatement," and that the ceramic piece was modeled after earlier Chinese bronze pieces. Because of the lack of bronze in the Southern Song dynasty, ceramics were used to replicate earlier shapes, he said.
"In the state rituals in the Southern Song dynasty, after the court fled south, it was very important to reinstate the political legitimacy of the ruler. Given the shortage of bronze, ceramics were used to copy bronze shapes," Chow said, according to the Journal.
The vase purchased by Liu had previously been in a private collection in Japan for the past four decades.
Liu, a big collector of art, previously bought a 600-year-old Tibetan tapestry for $45 million at a Christie's auction. At Asia Week in New York in March, Liu spent $19 million on auctions at Sotheby’s and Christie's, according to Bloomberg News.