An Imperial Bid for a Ming Vase

On 24 June 2021, by Philippe Dufour

One of the first Chinese porcelain pieces in "blue and white", a decorative technique with a splendid destiny, this Yongle period vase rapidly garnered €4.55 M.

China, Yongle period (1403-1424), porcelain meiping vase with blue underglaze decoration, h. 36 cm/14.2 in.
Result: €4,550,400

This eagerly awaited piece in meiping form (a term meaning "vase for prunus flowers") with blue underglaze decoration was distinguished with a bid of €4,550,400: three times its high estimate. It took less than eight minutes for five collectors—all Chinese—to raise the bidding via phone, until the winner carried the day with one of the highest hammer prices so far this year in France. This type of decoration appeared during Yongle's reign (1403-1420). It was produced using cobalt, as the emperor was very fond of blue. Here a delicate line combines with opulent motifs, with no fewer than ten different fruits, including lychees, pomegranates, peaches and grapes, displayed in two registers. 

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