A new auction high for Chinese porcelain was set last week when Sotheby’s sold a tiny Chenghua period ‘chicken cup’ for a hammer price of HK$250m (£21.5m) as part of their latest Hong Kong sale series.
This beats the previous high of HK$225m (then £18.2m) paid in
the same rooms three years ago for a
Qianlong famille rose double gourd vase.
The Ming dynasty Chenghua mark and period cup, which measures
just 3¼in (8cm) in diameter and is decorated in doucai colours with
a continuous frieze of cockerels, hens and chicks divided by
flowering plants, is from the Meiyintang collection of Imperial
Chinese porcelain after which is it named.
It comes trailing a list of earlier equally celebrated
provenances: Mrs Leopold Dreyfus, Edward T Chow (reputedly),
Sakamoto Goro and Giuseppe Eskenazi.
Produced in very small quantities and imitated into the early
Ching dynasty, these Chenghua cups have been highly prized right
from the outset and have been record-breakers at earlier
appearances at auction.
The Meiyintang cup itself set a world record for Chinese art 15
years ago when it sold at auction to Eskenazi in the same rooms in
1999 for HK$25.4m (then £2m).
The price on April 8, which was paid by the Shanghai collector
Mr Liu Yiqian, represents an approximately ten-fold increase.
The buyer's premium was 25/20/12%.
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