Published: November 10, 2017
LONDON — A set of four huanghuali folding chairs were sold for $6,968,787 at Bonhams’ Chinese art sale on November 9.
The chairs are the only known version of this form and type, and are widely considered a masterpiece of Ming Dynasty furniture. They had been estimated at $130/200,000. In a packed saleroom, the bidding war finally came down to a tense battle between a bidder in the room and one on the phone with the chairs finally knocked down to the phone bidder.
The chairs came from the collection of the Italian diplomat, Marchese Taliani de Marchio. From 1938 to 1946, Taliani served as ambassador to the national Chiang Kai-shek government in Nanjing. Despite spending only eight years in China, Taliani was a shrewd and gifted connoisseur who assembled a collection of exceedingly rare and important pieces that convey the rich history of Chinese decorative arts.
A Bonhams spokesperson said, “The fierce and lengthy bidding reflected the huge importance and rarity of these chairs and is a testament to the Marchese Taliano de Marchio’s incredible eye.”
A rare pair of huanghuali tapering cabinets from the Ming dynasty from the same collection, estimated at $260/395,000, sold for $2,221,867.
Prices reported were converted from British pounds sterling to US dollars at ptess time and include the buyer’s premium. For information, Phone: +44 20 7447 7447 or www.bonhams.com.
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