Hong Kong, October 10: It’s the kind of dish you don’t want to break. A nearly 900-year-old porcelain Song dynasty bowl smashed the world auction record for Chinese ceramics on Tuesday, selling for HK$294.3 million ($37.68 million) at a Sotheby's sale in Hong Kong.
The small, blue-green item broke the previous record, also set in a sale in Hong Kong, when a 500-year-old imperial "chicken" cup from the Ming dynasty Chenghua period sold for HK$281.2 million ($36.0 million) in 2014. It was picked up on October 3 by an anonymous buyer after a 20-minute bidding war. Sotheby’s Asia Deputy Chairman Nicolas Chow would not reveal the nationality of the buyer, but said mainland Chinese interest had helped drive the price tag up.
The bowl, from the Chang Foundation in Taiwan's Hongxi Museum, is one of only four known pieces of Ru heirlooms in private hands. Since 1940, no more than six Ru vessels have ever appeared at auction. Such Ru wares are recognisable for their fine irregular cracks and cloudy blueish glaze.
The previous auction record for Chinese ceramics, also set in Hong Kong, was held by a tiny and more than 500-year-old imperial cup painted with chickens, which sold for around 30.7 million euros in 2014.