Star of the show at Nagel (25% buyer’s premium) in Stuttgart on June 12 was an imperial blue and white vase, the form of which was based on an archaic ritual Hu vessel.
The 18th century porcelain version was made for the Qianlong Emperor and decorated with lotus flowers and other floral motifs. By repute, the 19in (49cm) high vase was presented by Mao Zedong to the Czechoslovakian president, Antonin Zapotocky, presumably in the 1950s.
It later belonged to the collection of Rainer Kreissl who died in 2005. International bidders joined in the action, but it was a Chinese collector who had the deepest pockets. His successful offer of €460,000 (£396,550) was more than twice the lower estimate.
Plenty of takers emerged for two of the earliest pieces in the sale: Chinese funerary objects from the 16th/15th century BC.
They were made of bronze with turquoise inlays. One was a 6 x 4in (16 x 11cm) plaque, the other a similarly sized crescent-shaped object, possibly part of a breast ornament. They came from the family of a deceased collector who had bought them at Nagel in 2006 for €31,000.
This time around, they were each estimated at €15,000-25,000. After a long struggle, the ornament was knocked down for €40,000 (£34,480), the plaque for €150,000 (£129,310). They did not go to China, however. A Japanese museum was the successful buyer.
Zeal to buy Zun
A Genevan collector consigned an 11in (28cm) high bronze ritual vessel of Zun type to Koller (25% buyer’s premium) in Zurich on June 20.
It could be dated to the late Shang or early Zhou Dynasty, that is sometime around the 12th or 11th centuries BC. The vendor had purchased it at Sotheby’s in London in 1972.
The vessel was decorated on both sides with a mask of the mythical creature Taotie and with a pair of stylized dragons.
A Chinese collector was able to see off his numerous competitors at SFr235,000 (£206,920), almost two and a half times the lower guide.
Nine phone bidders from Singapore, Beijing and Hong Kong had hoped to pick up a Chinese hanging scroll from the early Qing Dynasty which was offered by Lempertz (26% buyer’s premium) on June 21 in Cologne.
It portrayed a copy of the motif Bamboo on Rocks by the 14th century artist Gu An.
The 4ft 7in (1.36m) long, painted silk scroll was once part of the collection of the German diplomat Ernst Arthur Voretzsch, who amassed an impressive selection of works of art in the first decades of the last century, and has remained in the family since then.
Modestly estimated at €2000-3000, the long bidding match finished only at €250,000 (£215,520), with a collector from Hong Kong making the running.