July 4, 2006:

[achtung! kunst] *market* : Ming dynasty vase's auction price breaks world record

Ming dynasty vase's auction price breaks world record
www.chinaview.cn 2006-05-30 17:14:56

    HONG KONG, May 30 (Xinhua) -- A rare underglaze copper-red Ming
Dynasty (1368-1644) vase was sold at a price of 78.52 million HK dollars
(10.13 million U.S. dollars) on Tuesday in Hong Kong, setting a world
auction record for any Ming porcelain.

    "He's bought the vase at the right price, making a world
record," said Edward Dolman, chief executive officer of Christie's
International. He's referring to the vase's buyer Steve Wynn, chairman
of the Wynn Resorts (Macao).

    The pear-shaped vase decorated with a peony scroll is the only
copper-red vase of the early Ming Dynasty, more than 600 years ago,
still in perfect condition to be offered at auction in more than 15
years, said the Christie's Hong Kong.

    The vase was originally inherited by a Scottish couple who used it
as a lamp and did not know its importance until they had seen are lated
example in a museum.

    When Christie's London sold the vase in 1984, it realized a price
of 421,200 pound (about 615,000 U.S. dollars), then a record price for a
Far Eastern work of art sold at Christie's.

    Ceramics with underglaze copper-red decoration are very rare for
the complicated producing procedure.

    Copper mineral used to produce the expected crush raspberry-red
tone is known to be notoriously difficult to control during the firing
process, resulting in a gray or almost colorless design.

    Due to the high rate of failure, potters of Jingdezhen, the famous
Chinese town producing ceramics, had to plead with officials to reduce
the order as requested by the royal court.

    Among the small number of underglaze copper-red vases remaining
through the years, most have suffered various degrees of damage and
repair, especially on the narrow and thin neck.

    The peony vase on auction is one of those rare successes where the
pattern is expertly executed and the color is evenly distributed, while
still in perfect shape without damage.

    Calling it a "rare perfect example," Dolman said the vase has
always rewritten auction price records whenever it made an appearance.

    Even the buyer Steve Wynn agreed that the artifact "is expensive,"
but "priceless."

    Calling the vase "the extraordinary beautiful part of Chinese
history," Wynn announced after the auction that he would give it to the
museum of Macao for exhibition for free.

    "I want to make it a gift to the People's Republic of China, make
it a gift to the Museum of Macao, so that residents of Macao and all
visitors there can appreciate the artifact," he said.




with kind regards,

Matthias Arnold (Art-Eastasia list)



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