Chinese Song dynasty dish smashes record price.
At a glance this plain bowl could be mistaken for something you would use to heat up your beans in the microwave without a second thought.
But the simple light blue glaze with fine crackling and indents in the rim resembling a flower tell the expert observer that this is actually a 900-year-old Chinese dish. And after a fierce bidding war between eight desperate buyers, it sold for £17million at auction in Hong Kong, smashing the record for Chinese Song dynasty ceramics sold at auction.
Sotheby’s said that it took just 15 minutes for the rare Ruyao bowl to sell for triple the estimate. Several records have been set recently for elaborate vases from the Ming and Qing dynasties. But the Song dynasty is even older, ruling in China between 960 and 1279, which makes it all the more desirable. The dynasty was the first government to issue regular paper money in the country.
Ru ceramics are named after one of five large kilns that operated at the time and are the rarest in China. It surpassed the previous record set in April 2008 for Song dynasty ceramics, when a vase sold by Sotheby’s went for £5.5million. The auction house said the delicate bowl was sold by a private Japanese collector and was ‘arguably the most desirable piece of Ru official ware remaining in private hands’. Nicolas Chow of Sotheby’s Asia, added: ‘It is a piece of Ruyao which is probably the most fabled type of Chinese ceramic ever to have been created.’
Newly wealthy Chinese collectors have driven the prices of ceramics and antiquities to astonishing levels in recent years. Many are on a mission to ‘repatriate’ their country’s looted and sold heritage to the land of its origin.