Chinese Lamp Sells for 868357Dollars in England
|Chinese Emporer Xuande (1425-1435)|
On May 14th of 2012 at Dukes Auction House in Dorcehster, Dorset, England sold what had been used as a table lamp by an elderly woman for $868,357 (550,000 pounds). She had apparently been given the lamp many years ago after it had been long since drilled and converted. When auctioneer Guy Schwinge from Dukes examined the 15.6" "lamp base" and removed the fittings, it revealed a hole which had been made straight through the Ming Mark of the Xuande Emperor who's reign lasted ten years from (1425-1435) and lived from 1398 to 1435 when he died at the age of 37.
Finding extremely rare Chinese vases fitted as lamps is nothing new in the art world. During the 1920's and onward when a need developed for lighting of "taste", it was fairly common to simply drill holes in what are today great rarities and electrifying them as table lamps, sconces and even floor lamps. This is apparently case in this instance.
|Xuande Reticulated "Lamped" Vase $868,357|
It is unfortunate the finely worked reticulated porcelain vase, made originally as a large incense burner, was drilled, however it may have not survived at all had it not been, as many were tossed into the trash. Not many years ago when a piece of large porcelain was damaged or cracked the owners would simply discard them as worthless. A few performed a "make do" alterations, thus preserving what was left.
Whats most amazing is these kinds of finds continue to happen despite the enormous pressure on values of Chinese art over the last 20 years. Many observers of this market keep thinking all the great examples have long since flushed out and into the arms of wealthy waiting Chinese buyers. Obviously this is not the case and will likely continue for another generation. As a dealer here in sleepy Gloucester, Massachusetts just 15 miles north of Boston over the last 30 years we've had the pleasure of surprising many families with windfalls as well from these sleeping rarities. No doubt their will be more happy suprises.
Visit the UK Telegraph for the story and more details.