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‘One of the masterpieces of Qing Imperial ceramics’

Specialist Pola Antebi looks at a large and exceedingly rare celadon-glazed amphora, which sold for $18,129,688 in Hong Kong — a world record for a Chinese monochrome porcelain

‘This magnificent amphora is one of the masterpieces of Qing Imperial ceramics,’ explains Pola Antebi, International Director of Chinese Works of Art Christie’s. ‘It is a testament of the ingenuity and ability of the Yongzheng-period ceramicists.’

This large and exceedingly rare celadon-glazed amphora set a world record price for a Qing monochrome porcelain when it was sold for HK$17,423,750 at Christie’s in 2004 and set a new world record for a Chinese monochrome porcelain when it sold for $18,129,688 / HK$140,540,000 in a stand-alone sale at Christie’s in Hong Kong on 31 May.

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

An Exceptional Fine Tang-style Double-Dragon Celadon-Glazed Amphora Yongzheng Six-character Seal Mark in Underglaze Blue and of the Period (1723-1735). 51.8 cm (20 38 in) high. Sold for HK$140,540,000  $18,129,688 in The Yongzheng Emperor’s Double-Dragon Amphora on  31 May at Christie’s in Hong Kong

An Exceptional Fine Tang-style 'Double-Dragon' Celadon-Glazed Amphora Yongzheng Six-character Seal Mark in Underglaze Blue and of the Period (1723-1735). 51.8 cm (20 3/8 in) high. Sold for HK$140,540,000 / $18,129,688 in The Yongzheng Emperor’s Double-Dragon Amphora on 31 May at Christie’s in Hong Kong

Inspired by the 8th century Tang dynasty prototype, this amphora’s unusual form features two powerful dragon handles flanking a bamboo-form neck above a baluster body, The resplendent bluish-green glaze harks back to the Longquan celadon wares made in the Song dynasty.

Yongzheng amphorae of this size and intricacy are incredibly difficult to fire, with very few examples surviving to present day, most of which are in important museum collections around the world.

‘In my view this amphora is among the finest monochrome ceramics we have ever had the pleasure of handling,’ comments Antebi. It was the third time it was offered for sale with Christie’s.