Hong Kong, April 3, 2018 — An extremely rare Qing Dynasty bowl made for the Chinese emperor Kangxi fetched US$30.4 million at an auction on Tuesday, Sotheby’s said.
The bowl, just under six inches in diameter, is decorated with falangcai – painted enamels combining Chinese and Western techniques – and flowers, including daffodils which are not typically depicted on Chinese porcelain.
The bowl, said to have been used by the emperor in the early 18th century, was sold within five minutes to an unnamed phone bidder from the Greater China region, said chairman of Sotheby’s Asia Nicolas Chow.
“This is the absolute finest example to exist. There are only three examples altogether that use this beautiful pink (background),” Chow said.
The bowl was created in an imperial workshop within Beijing’s Forbidden City by a small team of craftsmen, with the help of Jesuits from Europe who had brought new techniques and materials, according to Sotheby’s.
Hong Kong’s auction houses have seen frenzied bidding among Asian buyers in recent years, with sales of diamonds, handbags and ancient ceramics shattering world records.
Last year a 1,000-year-old bowl from China’s Song Dynasty sold for US$37.7 million, a record for Chinese ceramics.