Chinese vase sells for over £3m setting a record on thesaleroom.com18 May 2020 A Chinese blue and white vase was hammered down for more than £3m at an online auction in Singapore.
The had a mark to base indicating it was from the Yongzheng period (1722-35). It featured in a timed sale held by Hotlotz from April 18 to May 3. The hammer price, Sin$5.5m (£3.1m), is a house record for HotLotz and a record for any lot sold on thesaleroom.com.
The 15in (39cm) high finely painted vase was decorated with a striking design of nine five-clawed dragons among stylised clouds.
The Singapore discovery was offered for sale by the family of the Sri Lankan statesman Sir Oliver Goonetilleke (1892-1978). Having served as a key figure in the gradual independence of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) from Britain, he became the third governor-general of the country. According to a letter from the vendor, the vase was presented by Zhou Enlai (1898-1976), premier of the People’s Republic of China, while visiting Sri Lanka c.1956-57.
As the auction started, the vase was undated and offered with an estimate of Sin$1000-2000. However, it found many admirers, and the sale culminated in a feverish last two-and-a-half hours of bidding, which at the final moments reached Sin$5.5m (£3.1m) – around Sin$6.9m (£3.9m) including the 25% buyer’s premium.
“We always hoped the vase would perform well given the provenance and the quality of the painting,” said Matthew Elton, managing director at HotLotz.
”We included videos and an extensive suite of photos in the online catalogue and we received many enquiries as soon as it went live on thesaleroom.com. More than a dozen bidders competed and we are thrilled with the final price.”
A similar example
It is thought to be closely related to a ‘mark and period’ vase of the same size and similar decoration that took a house-record £2.6m at Tennants of Leyburn in 2012.
It was later resold by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong in 2015 for a premium-inclusive HK$75.8m (around £7.5m).
At the time it was said that no other Yongzheng example of this elegant slender form appeared to have been published – although the type is more common in the subsequent Qianlong period.