Late Ming or early Qing huanghuali bed – £140,000 at Dore & Rees.

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When in 2002 this impressive huanghuali six-post canopy bed shown top was offered at Christie’s New York as part of a country house collection, it was acquired by the UK buyer for $3000. It probably dates from c.1700, the late Ming or the early Qing period.

Offered for sale at Dore & Rees (25% buyer’s premium) in Frome on November 8, it carried a ‘refer to department’ estimate of around £100,000. It was in good display condition although condition issues included four missing archaistic dragon roundels, old repairs to the uprights and some of the humpback stretchers had been replaced. The hammer price was £140,000.

Symbolic squirrels


Qing hongmu ‘squirrels and grapes’ table – €140,000 (£127,300) at Adam’s.

Sharing the top price at the November 23 sale at Adam’s (25% buyer’s premium inc VAT) in Dublin –an event previewed at the Maas Gallery during Asian Art in London – was a marble-top hongmu table.

Probably mid to late 19th century, the carved decoration combines bold dragon and lion mask heads to the corners and a frieze of squirrels in grape vines; two species known for their ability to multiply that allude to wishes for generations of children.

It was once the property of Ferdinand Marie Viscount of Lesseps (1805-94), a French diplomat instrumental in the building of the Suez Canal, but will now be heading further east after it was bought by a Vietnamese private collector. The hammer price of €140,000 (£127,300) was 35 times its low estimate.