Published: October 5, 2017
By Elaine Yu
HONG KONG (AFP) — A 1,000-year-old bowl from China’s Song dynasty sold for $37.7 million on October 3, breaking the record for Chinese ceramics, auction house Sotheby’s said.
The small piece — which dates from 960-1127 — stole the previous record of $36.05 million set in 2014 for a Ming dynasty wine cup, which was snapped up by a Shanghai tycoon famous for making eye-watering bids.
The person behind the bowl’s winning offer wished to remain anonymous, Sotheby’s said, with the auction house declining to say whether the buyer hailed from the Chinese mainland or not.
“It’s a totally new benchmark for Chinese ceramics, and we’ve made history with this piece,” Nicolas Chow, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, told reporters.
Bidding started at around $10.2 million with the suspense-filled auction lasting some 20 minutes as a handful of phone bidders and one person in the room itself competed with each other.
The winning offer eventually came from one of the phone bidders and was received by a round of applause.
The bowl — originally designed to wash brushes — is an example of extremely rare Chinese porcelain from the imperial court of the Northern Song dynasty and one of only four such pieces in private hands, according to Sotheby’s.
Measuring 13 centimeters in diameter, the dish features a luminous blue glaze.
China’s various dynasties were renowned for their fine ceramics with the Song period often regarded as producing some of the region’s most superb examples.
Song ceramics are particularly known for their subtlety, simplicity and exquisite glazing and have long been among the most sought after objects for collectors.
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