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Ming Dynasty Vase Breaks Auction Record at Sotheby's


Cheng’s Vase Lifts Sotheby’s to $398 Million Record

A famille-rose vase, with the seal mark of the Qianlong Emperor (1736-1795).

Alice Cheng remembers a Chinese vase that sat in the house of one of her father’s friends when she was a little girl. Last year she bought it at a sale in Hong Kong for HK$252.7 million ($32.6 million).

Cheng, a collector and sister of Hong Kong dealer Robert Chang, paid more than five times the top estimate for the famille-rose double-gourd vase, with the seal mark of the art- loving Qianlong Emperor (1736-1795), helping push Sotheby’s autumn sale total to a record HK$3.09 billion.

“I knew the price was going to be high, but as long as I like it, it’s worth it,” said Cheng, wearing a pair of red sapphire earrings, after the sale. “I like it a lot.”

The vase sold at a Hong Kong auction for HK$252.7 million ($32.6 million) and was bought by collector Alice Cheng.

The weeklong sale by New York-based Sotheby’s at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, covering wine, modern and contemporary art, traditional Chinese paintings, watches, jewelry and antiques helps indicate to collectors and dealers the strength of demand for art and luxury goods in Asia. The final total was more than 50 percent higher than the company’s previous record in the city of HK$2 billion set in April.

Shanghai-born Cheng, 78, who is a director of Chinese companies in oil, communications and transport, has raised the bar for Chinese ceramics before. In May 2002, she paid HK$41.5 million for an enameled vase from the reign of Emperor Yongzheng (1723-1735) at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, a record at the time for a Qing ceramic. She donated it to the Shanghai Museum, she said. Four years later she paid a then-record HK$151.3 million for a Qing porcelain bowl being sold by her brother at a Christie’s International sale in the city.

Editor: Liu Xiongfei

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