The Jaiqing mark moonflask sold for $155,000 (£123,000) at Dixon’s Crumpton Auction.

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A potentially important famille rose porcelain moon flask, recently used as a lamp, raced away from its $1000-2000 estimate to sell for $155,000 (£123,000) at a small saleroom in the US.

Multiple bidders speculated it was made at the imperial kilns for the Qing emperor Jiaqing (1796-1820). The winning bid came online via the LiveAuctioneers portal.

Famille-rose decorated moonflasks or bianhu are rarities and the decoration to this 11in (23cm) vessel among the most desirable in all Chinese art. In addition to an imperial yellow ground that is both enamelled and carved – the technique called graviata - the central scene shows children at a dragon boat race during the Duanwu Festival.

‘Graviata’ decoration

A detail of the Jaiqing mark moonflask sold at Dixon’s Crumpton Auction showing the incised ‘graviata’ decoration.

Auspicious scene

All of the participants and onlookers in this particular celebration are boys – an auspicious theme that expresses an abiding wish for male offspring that can carry on the familial name and bring prosperity to the family.

It came for sale at Dixon’s Crumpton Auction (21% buyer’s premium) in Maryland on January 25 from a New Hampshire private collection. Following huge pre-sale interest, the auction house uploaded more than 50 additional hi-resolution images of the piece to show its many qualities and its imperfect condition.

The base of the vase

The base of the vase at Dixon’s Crumpton Auction which shows a drill-hole through the centre of the six-character Jaiqing reign mark.

It had some small chips and had been drilled through the centre of the six-character reign mark for use as a lamp.

Central scene of vase

A detail of the Jaiqing mark moonflask sold at Dixon’s Crumpton Auction showing the central scene depicting children at a dragon boat race.

Almost 350 potential buyers were ‘watching’ on LiveAuctioneers when bidding began, some of them doubtless aware of the spectacular auction precedent for a similar lot.

ATG front

The ATG front page when a pair of similar flasks sold at Henry Adams in 2007.

Back in 2007 a pair of moon flasks of this type – but with marks for the emperor Qianlong (1736-96) – surfaced at Henry Adams in Chichester and sold for £760,000 (pictured). They were later offered for sale at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong where – deemed apparently unique pieces made for the personal quarters of the Qianlong emperor – they sold for close to £3m.