Sotheby's Sells Southern Song Guan Vase for 14.7 Million Dollars
While other things have certainly sold for more in the world of art and even Asian art, few if any of them struck me as being as wonderful as the Guan vase sold in Hong Kong today by Sotheby's. Its not that I dislike flashy enamel pieces from various Qing imperial reigns or wildly refined Qianlong jades, they simply don't do much for me. Yeah they have amazing decorations, lovely colors, symbolism, but this incredibly fine and rare offering from a private collection in Japan is as they use to say is a "barn burner".
In describing the vase Nicholas Chow, Sotheby's Deputy Chairman and International Head of Asian Art said it best
“We are privileged to offer this season some of the most outstanding Chinese works of art to come to the market in recent history. The Southern Song Guan vase, a masterpiece of ceramic art" .
Guan yao was the official ware of the legendary Southern Song Imperial court (1127-1279) located in Hangzhou in south China. For many collectors Guan yao is viewed as the rarest and most desirable of all Chinese ceramics. The making of these pieces, which was never vast by all indications, represented the culmination and confluence of all aspects of the potters art coupled with the scholarly tastes of the ruling classes during that time. The potter's with this outstanding example clearly drew their inspiration of shape from early bronzes and the went about coating the piece with successive layers of smooth creamy bluish glaze and repeated firings. To further enhance the appearance, the potter's would then apply stain to the body after cooling, allowing the color to penetrate the fine firing crackles highlighting its natural patterns.
The vase sold today was bought by a Japanese collector through Sotheby's in London in 1975 from the collection of John Henry Levy. Mr. Levy was a pre-eminent collector of Song through Ming ceramics and works of art.
The buyer of the Song Guan Vase (as expected ) is self made Shanghai billionaire and art connoisseur Liu Yiqian who, with his wife Wang Wei, stepped up to bat and claimed the vase for their Museum in Shanghai. They really are a dynamic duo.
Below are some images for all of you who adore these pieces..