A rare celadon vase and cover from the early Ming dynasty (14th-15th century) has sold as one of the top lots of Christie's auction of Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, held in Hong Kong today (May 29).
The meiping, which is the name given to this type of vase, sold for $1.7m against a $1.5-1.9m estimate. With meiping translating as "plum vase", it would traditionally have been used to display branches of plum blossoms.
This example belongs to a small group of fine celadon wares produced in the renowned Longquan area for the early Ming court.
It is prized as one of the largest and most extravagant meiping, as well as for the technical difficulty its creators faced in firing such a large shape. They have done so brilliantly, with faultless potting and an almost blemishless glaze.
Very few early Ming Longquan meiping of this type have survived the test of time, with even fewer retaining their original covers. In fact, there are only two comparable examples, both of which are housed in important institutional collections.
The top lot of the sale was a magnificent bronze wine vessel that smashed its top estimate of $1.5m by 212.6%, realising $4.9m. Dating to the Shang dynasty (11th-12th century), it is decorated with Chinese taotie masks cast in high relief and is incredibly rare.
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