Chinese double dragon amphora to beat record?

Christie’s is to auction a rare Tang style double dragon amphora, produced in China during the Yongzheng period (1723-1735).

The vase is a prime example of the way ceramicists were encouraged to experiment with different styles during the Yongzheng emperor’s reign.

The shape is based on an 8th century Tang design, while the tranquil blue colouring was inspired by wares produced during the Song dynasty (960-1279).

 Double dragon vase

The vase is an intriguing meld of styles 

Amphora of this size (this one is over 20 inches in height) were not easy to fire.

Very few have survived.

This example last sold for $2.2m at a Christie’s auction in 2004, then a record for a monochrome Qing (1644-1912) ceramic and a figure it’s expected to dramatically exceed this time around.

Pola Antebi, Christie’s international director of Chinese art, said: “This magnificent amphora is one of the masterpieces of Qing Imperial ceramics.

“It is a testament of the ingenuity and ability of the Yongzheng-period ceramicists…

“The Yongzheng Emperor took great interest in the porcelains made for his court and commissioned items made in antique styles. This amphora draws a number of influences from antiquity.

“In my view this amphora is among the finest monochrome ceramics we have ever had the pleasure of handling at Christie’s.”

The sale will take place in New York on May 31.

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