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Ming Dynasty Vase Breaks Auction Record at Sotheby's


An Outstanding Blue and White Vase with Fruit Sprays, Meiping

An Outstanding Blue and White Vase with Fruit Sprays, Meiping

Ming Dynasty, Yongle Period

Estimate: HK$80 - 120 million / US$10.3 - 15.4 million

Height: 36.5 cm.

Meiping decorated with fruit sprays are well known from the Yongle period. This large Yongle period meiping, with its elaborate decoration of ten fruit sprays, most likely predates the well-known smaller vases of this form. Only one companion piece to the present vase appears to be recorded, a covered meiping in the Palace Museum, Beijing. The present vase supplies vivid testimony to the success of these undertakings - its rich repertoire of fruit and flower motifs make it a masterpiece of Yongle porcelain art.

A prominent old world collection of imperial ceramics fetched $72 million at a Sotheby's Hong Kong sale on last wednesday, with an early Ming cobalt blue Meiping vase going for a record $21.6 million despite recent financial market turmoil.

The Meiyintang collection, a unique, respected assemblage of Chinese porcelain collected over nearly half a century by Swiss tycoons, the Zuellig brothers, was offered onto the market for the first time in April in a highly anticipated Hong Kong sale.

Some major lots, however, including a golden pheasant vase, failed to find buyers in an auction that saw aggressive estimates and tighter credit requirements weigh on sentiment.

The second part of the Meiyintang sale on Wednesday, however, with an emphasis on earlier, monochromatic Ming wares, saw a large auction hall bid steadily for the best of the 41 lots despite recent plunges in local and global stock markets.

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