A small piece of bowl. Sold at $37.7 million. Unbelievable, huh? But it happened last Tuesday in an auction at Hong Kong.
International auction agency Sotheby organized this regular auction at the Hong Kong Convention And Exhibition Center. Along with some more archaeological tokens, this simple looking but attractive ancient bowl was put on the table.
The bowl is from Northern China’s Song dynasty. It’s ruling period spanned from the year 960 to 1127. The bowl is approximately 900 years old. It was made for the royal court usage.
With the shinny glaze of blue and green, the diameter of the bowl is 13cm (5 inches). The ice-crack patterned design made the bowl more elegant. According to Sotheby Asia officials, it was used by the emperor himself for washing his paint brushes.
At the auction, the porcelain bowl was sold at record breaking $37.7 million. The officials commented that there is always a huge demand for ancient Chinese ceramic art crafts, but this bowl has crossed all of their imaginations.
The base price of the ancient piece was set at $10.2 million. Sotheby expected this would rise at best up to $13 million. But by shocking everyone it reached $37.7 million, an all time highest price for a Chinese porcelain.
Those who bid for the bowl, only one of them was present at the auction premises. Others were connected via phone. After a 20 minutes long bid, the magnificent porcelain bowl was sold at $37.7 million. However, the identity of the buyer has not been revealed.
Potteries from the Song dynasty are known as ‘Ru ware’. This category of Chinese crafts is far more celebrated to art lovers and collectors than any other types of ancient China.
The Sotheby Asia’s officials stated that out of this 12th century Ru ware potteries, only 87 survived so far. Among them only 4 are now in private collections. Others are preserved in museums and art centers in Taipei, Beijing and all around the world.
The previous record of highest paying in auction for ceramic pottery was of a white porcelain cup’s. Brush-painted rooster and hen on the surface, the cup was from Chenghua Emperor’s reign, lasted from 1464 to 1487. The cup was bought by taxi-driver-turned-billionaire Liu Yiqian in 2014.
In the recent years a trend is being noticed in art collecting among the newly emerged billionaire club members of China. They are not hesitating to spend even millions to acquire archaeological souvenirs or aesthetic artworks. Analysts praising this trend as very encouraging for the global art, culture and heritage arena.