Qing imperial ceramics for sale at Christie’s Hong Kong

Collectors of precious ceramics, especially those from the Qing dynasty stayed tuned for May 30, when Christie’s Hong Kong will host a sale featuring ten exceptional pieces of museum-quality porcelain

Christie’s Hong Kong Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Department is presenting The Ten Perfections – Qing Imperial Ceramics from the Wang Xing Lou Collection, a dedicated, single-owner sale to be held on May 30, 2024.

This sale features ten exceptional pieces of museum-quality porcelain from the most prominent reigns of the Qing Dynasty. The total pre-sale low estimate exceeds HK$80 million (US$10 million).

The Master of Wang Xing Lou has demonstrated remarkable foresight in collecting imperial ceramics since the 1980s, concentrating on pieces made during the early Qing dynasty. The ten bright, jewel-like masterpieces to be offered this season were produced during the reigns of Yongzheng (r. 1723-1735) and Qianlong (r. 1736-1795), essentially spanning just over 70 years of imperial ceramic production.

The Collector and Christie’s have meticulously selected prized pieces from these two periods for their exquisite artistic quality and pristine condition. This specially curated group stands out for their display of brilliant technical skills and upholding the classic tradition of Chinese ceramics production, demonstrating the innovative motifs and techniques popular at the time.

This fine and rare meiping is a celebration of the traditional Chinese belief that at the Spring Equinox, the dragon awakens from its winter slumber amongst the waves to summon rain for the crops, a vital element for a prosperous harvest and the community’s welfare. The motif of white dragons amid underglaze-copper red turbulent waves, present since the Yuan dynasty, evidently inspired the Yongzheng-era ateliers.

This very rare Yongzheng meiping vase features finely ‘pencilled’ painting of turbulent waves, exemplifying a masterful command of the brush executed in underglaze-copper-red, whilst the dragon is reserved in white and delicately carved in fine details to portray a lively, powerful, and upright dragon. Achieving such precise, fine lines is a formidable challenge, and this vase bears witness to the extraordinary talent of the imperial ceramic artists working under imperial command of the emperor during the Yongzheng period.

An extremely rare blue and white “elephant handle” vase – Qianlong six-character seal mark (1736-1795)

The distinguished provenance of this meiping includes its exhibition at The American Art Galleries in New York in 1886, as part of the art collection formed by the late Mary J Morgan, who was a cousin by marriage to JP Morgan (1837-1913), one of the greatest collectors of the early 20th century. After its last appearance at auction in 1996, this vase, along with the entire Wang Xing Lou Collection, was on loan to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts from 2003 to 2020.

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