Imperial Chinese Masterpiece Sells At Bonhams In Hong Kong For £420,000

A magnificent pair of cloisonne enamelled incense burners and covers from the Qianlong period (1736-95), lot 202, sold spectacularly for HK$4,800,00 (£420,000) at the Bonhams auction of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art in Hong Kong on 4 December.

cloisonne.jpgEstimated at HK$1,000,000-1,500,000, they were hotly contested by fifteen bidders from Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Japan and America. They had been removed from the Summer Palace, Beijing to England 1860, and had been preserved carefully in an English house in Kent. Bonhams office in Whitstable was asked to provide a valuation as the owners suspected the pair were valuable but they were surprised by the value achieved at the sale.

Julian King, head of Chinese ceramics and works of art at Bonhams, Hong Kong said: “This spectacular result demonstrates that prices for masterpieces of Chinese Imperial art are immune from the current economic downturn.

Bonhams is delighted that this magnificent pair of imperial incense burners, which was removed from the Summer Palace in the 19th century, has now returned to China.”

Another item that did particularly well at the sale was Lot 287, an extremely rare Tibetan gilt-bronze figure of Manjushri, a magnificent gilt-bronze Buddha) which defied the financial meltdown, selling for a staggering HK$3,360,000 (£294,736) against an estimate of HK$800,000-1,200,000.

The large gilt-bronze Buddha had been bought for just £100 in a junk shop in England in the 1950s by a designer and metal craftsman. The current owner who was selling the Buddha figure said “I am absolutely delighted with this result.”

Julian King, head of Chinese ceramics and works of art at Bonhams, Hong Kong said: “This magnificent figure of Manjushri is an absolute masterpiece of Tibetan art. Bonhams was delighted with its reception in Taipei, where it was exhibited last month, drawing crowds of admirers. We always knew it would be especially popular in Taiwan, where the top collectors are particularly attracted to and knowledgeable about Tibetan art and history. Two Taiwanese collectors fought over it, resulting in this spectacular price.”

Auction info