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Sotheby's to auction 343 Chinese art pieces in London

05-06-2011 14:55 BJT

BEIJING, May 6 (Xinhuanet) -- A total of 343 fine Chinese ceramics and art works, including an 800-year old vase and a Dragon seal used by Emperor Jiaqing (1796-1820), will go on auction on Wednesday at Sotheby's first London sales of 2011.

The auction house says every item in the sale has been "meticulously selected as an iconic example of it genre" and in total the auction is expected to realize in excess of 117 million yuan (11 million pounds).

Most of the items on sale are antiques, with some of oldest pieces including a jade axe which dates back to the Neolithic period, which began in China around 10,000 BC and concluded with the introduction of metallurgy about 8,000 years later.

Fourteen of the 343 items are from a Japanese collection, including an "important and rare" 12th century 'Ice Crackle Guan' vase of Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279).

It is the first example of the archetypal 'Guan' style, from the official kilns of Hangzhou of east China to appear at auction and it is estimated between two to three million pounds. It is expected to be the most expensive item in the upcoming auction.

'Guan', the official ware of the Southern Song court, is perhaps the most admirable and desirable of all Chinese ceramics. The vase formed part of the collections of Chinese ceramics of the early 20th century.

"This vase came to Japan fairly recently," according to Sotheby's' catalogue.

"Chinese ceramics were imported to Japan ever since the Nara period (710-794) – in China in the Tang dynasty (618-907)". "The immense spectrum of Song ceramics – unrepeated in the history of Chinese ceramics – fascinated Japanese collectors."


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