Bonhams Chinese art sale totals $17.5m in London

Bonhams' auction of fine Chinese art on May 16 saw any fears about the health of the Chinese art market put to rest.

Head of Bonhams' Asian art department, Colin Sheaf, comments: "Last year we were concerned that the political transition in China would impact upon the art market.

Chinese art auction
This decorative garlic-headed blue and white lotus bottle vase led the auction

"This sale comprehensively demonstrates that the Chinese art market is back to form with record prices."

Bonhams' London saw a packed saleroom, with collectors and investors clamouring to get their hands on the 420 works featured in the sale.

A rare garlic-headed blue and white lotus bottle vase from the Qianlong period (1735-1799) led the sale, bringing £679,650 ($1m), while an 18th century moonflask (only the second known example of its kind) sold for £421,250 ($640,770).

Further highlights included an eye-catching gilt baluster vase that made £325,250 ($494,974), and a blanc-de-chine figurine, which sold for £241,250 ($366,954).

The auction made £11.5m ($17.5) in all.

Barclays' recent Wealth Report confirmed that the Chinese interest in owning collectibles, whether as status symbols or for the purpose of portfolio diversification, is greater than that in the west. The country's wealthiest individuals have 17% of their money invested in treasure assets, compared with 9% and 7% in the US and UK, respectively.

Following the sale, Bonhams' Asaph Hyman commented: "We are delighted that connoisseurs of Chinese art from all over the world recognised the beauty and the rarity of what was on offer today and this was reflected in the very strong prices achieved."

Thinking about investing in art? Take a look at Paul Fraser Collectibles' free guide to the art and photography markets.

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