$30 million for a Shang Dynasty bronze casting

by fulltimestudent 3 Replies latest social current

  • fulltimestudent

    In 1922 some farmers in Taoyuan County, Hunan Province, China, dug up a beautiful cast bronze vessel with a lid. The farmer's son took the lid to school to ask his teacher what it was. The teacher saw that it was something wonderful and raked up 800 silver dollars to buy it. Someone else heard about it and bought the vessel itself for 400 silver dollars. So the two parts went their separate ways. The lid finished up in the hands of an army officer, who gave it to the Hunan Provincial government in 1952

    The body finished up in the hands of the Shanghai City government, but during the chaos of the times, was sold to foreigners, eventually being bought by a French collector in 2001 for the huge sum of $9,246,000. His recent death saw it back on the market.

    Hunan Museum thought there was little chance of buying the vessel's body and displaying it complete, but a group of Chinese businessmen from both China and Taiwan negotiated a deal that brought it back to China and the complete vessel will soon be on display in the Hunan Museum.

    The vessel was made as a wine serving vessel and stands around 600 mm (two feet) high.

    The history blog of Livius describes it:

    The vessel’s massive size distinguishes this extraordinary work as one of the foremost examples of its kind. The surface is intricately cast with stylized animals and mysterious monster masks that provide a fascinating insight into early Chinese culture and beliefs. The crisp, precise casting of this complex design vividly illustrates why bronze vessels created during the Shang and Zhou dynasties rank among the finest examples of bronze casting the world has ever seen.

    Reference: http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/category/ancient

    FYI: The Shang dynasty existed between the mid 18th C BCE and the mid 11th C BCE and was followed by the Zhou Dynasty which at its end in the third C BCE was only a nominal ruler of China.

  • LogCon

    April 8, 2014

    Small Chinese cup sells for $36 million

    Sotheby’s Deputy Chairman for Asia Nicholas Chow presents the Meiyintang “Chicken Cup” from the Chinese Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) during a press conference in Hong Kong, Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Sotheby’s said Shanghai collector Liu Yiqian won the bidding for the “Chicken Cup,” which is decorated with a rooster, hen and their chicks. Including the auction house’s commission, the price for the small cup comes to HK$281.2 million (US$36.1 million), which Sotheby’s said is a world record price for Chinese porcelain. ; AP Photo/Vincent Yu

    HONG KONG - A Shanghai collector bought a rare Ming Dynasty cup that's touted as the "holy grail" of China's art world for $36 million at a Hong Kong auction on Tuesday, smashing the previous world record price for Chinese porcelain.

    Sotheby's said Liu Yiqian was the winning bidder for the small white cup, which measures just 8 centimeters (3.1 Inches) in diameter and is more than 500 years old. The vessel is known as a "chicken cup" because it's decorated with a rooster and hen tending to their chicks.

    It was made during the reign of the Ming Dynasty's Chenghua Emperor, who ruled from 1465 to 1487. Sotheby's said there are only 17 such cups in existence, with four in private hands and the rest in museums.

    "There's no more legendary object in the history of Chinese porcelain," said Nicholas Chow, Sotheby's deputy chairman for Asia. "This is really the holy grail when it comes to Chinese art."

    For such a prized item, bidding was limited to a handful of wealthy collectors and when the winning bid was hammered down at HK$250 million ($32.2 million), the standing-room only crowd broke into applause. The auction house's commission brought the total to HK$281.2 million ($36.1 million). A pre-sale estimate had estimated a maximum sale price of HK$300 million.

    Sotheby's said the previous record for Chinese porcelain was set in 2010 when a gourd-shaped Qianlong vase sold for $32.4 million.

    It's the latest of several records set at the auction house's Hong Kong spring sales, indicating that the region's super-rich are still spending despite fluctuating economic growth. At Sunday's sale of modern and contemporary Asian art, Asian collectors bought nine of the top 10 priciest lots.

    "Definitely the mood in Hong Kong at this moment, in Asia, is buoyant," said Chow.

    Chow said the cup would likely go on display in Liu's Long Museum in Shanghai, which he and his wife, Wang Wei, opened in 2012.

    Liu is a middle-school dropout who drove a cab before becoming a multimillionaire. Forbes estimates his fortune at $900 million, making him the 200th richest person in China.

  • LogCon


    the Society would view this as obscene materialism, what with much of the world living in poverty.


    If these items were left to the Society through someone's Last Will,


    the Society would try to squeeze every penny out of the sale of these trinkets, viewing it as a


  • cultBgone

    i obviously need to find some decent Chinese artifacts at a garage sale...

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