Published: June 23, 2015
BERLIN, GERMANY — The online auction house Auctionata has set a new world record for an Asian work of art sold in an online auction. In its 259th auction, “Important Asian Art” June 20, a rare enamel, ivory-mounted and paste-set musical and automaton clock from the late Eighteenth Century attained sold for $3.76 million, including buyer’s premium (price converted from euros at press time). This makes it the highest auction result in Germany in 2015 and the most expensive object that Auctionata has sold since the start of its livestream auctions in 2013.
The rare master example of Chinese clock-making stems from the Guangzhou workshop and attracted more than 1,000 interested auction participants from 35 countries. After a fierce 10-minute bidding battle between six bidders from Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and New York, the museum-quality piece ultimately went to the well-known businessman and investor Liu Yiqian from Shanghai.
Liu owns an important art collection in China, which is displayed in the Long Museum in Shanghai, which he founded with his wife. In the past, he has received great attention for several purchases of important Chinese works of art. He bought the so-called “chicken cup,” a small porcelain cup from the Ming dynasty, for $36 million at a British auction house in April 2014. “I am more than happy to be the winning bidder for this amazing piece of craftsmanship,” he said.
Imperial Chinese clocks from the Guangzhou workshop are among the most sought-after works of art from the Qing dynasty. Only very few of them are privately owned, and have ever been available on the art market.
The musical automaton clock represents the mountain Penglai, which is known as the home of the ‘Eight Immortals’ of Taoism. The mountain with a waterfall is made with precision and decorated with many small figures, representing the Eight Immortals, their attendants as well as the Three Star Deities. The fully functional automatism sets most of the figures, the pagodas, the waterfall and a richly decorated yin-yang symbol in motion.
Dr Arne Sildatke, Senior Specialist for Asian Art at Auctionata, said, “I am thrilled with this great result! It reflects the historical value of this museum-quality automaton clock and the rarity of its Chinese theme. Curating an auction with such an important artwork is an experience beyond description.”
For more information, www.auctionata.com.
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