Published: May 21, 2002
Record $1.2 Million Price Tag for a Korean Porcelain Jar at Butterfields
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. – Butterfields offered Asian art to bidders on telephones, via the Internet and seated in the salesroom on Tuesday, May 14, setting a record price for an important Korean blue and white porcelain dragon-decorated jar.
A collector seated in the auction room bid $1,212,875 (includes buyer’s premium) for the massive Choson Dynasty dragon jar.
The short-necked, inverted pear-shaped Eighteenth Century vase is 19 inches high and decorated in brilliant cobalt blue with scrolls and a unique vigorously drawn five-clawed dragon.
The depiction is unlike previously published examples comprising highly unusual elements — a singular five-clawed dragon over crashing waves. The jar stems from a San Francisco Bay area private collection and has been in the United States since 1950. The jar was estimated to bring $150/$250,000.
The closest known comparison is a jar within the Ataka collection at the Osaka Museum of Oriental Ceramics, dated by the museum to be Seventeenth/Eighteenth Century and displaying four claws. Dessa Goddard, vice president and director of Butterfields Asian art department, said, “It is rare that a jar of this superb quality and unique decoration comes to market; we’re quite pleased with the results.”
This price is Butterfields’ highest selling singular lot in its 137-year history.
Other high sums at this sale included: $57,875 paid for a pair of cloisonné enameled presentation vases with Imperial crests, Meiji Period, sealed Hattori — made by commission for the Japanese Imperial household ($15/25,000); $22,225 paid for a Shinshinto Period Japanese sword or katana in Shirasaya ($4/6,000); and $22,225 paid for a pair of Eighteenth Century six-panel screens painted with ink, color and gold depicting streets, hills and inhabitants of Kyoto ($20/30,000).
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