• Press release
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  • London
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  • For immediate release
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  • 9 May 2017

MEDIA ALERT: A Rare & Important Pair of Chinese Vases Sell For £14,725,000 / $19,054,150 / HK$147,588,675 At Christie's London

London – A magnificent pair of famille rose 'butterfly' double-gourd vases has sold for £14,725,000 / $19,054,150 / HK$147,588,675 at Christie’s London. This is the very first time that a pair of these Qianlong vases has been offered; only four other single vases of this type have been sold at auction to date. This important pair of 18th-century vases were made for the court of the Qianlong Emperor and his reign mark is painted on the bases. The vases are elaborately decorated with butterflies amidst flowers, which carry a wealth of auspicious messages. For example, the camellias have five deep red petals, a colour associated with joy and protection.

Rosemary Scott, Chinese ceramics specialist and International Academic Director at Christie’s, discusses the vases in a video on the Christie’s website here.

Christie’s Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art sale realised a total of £19,456,750 / $25,177,035 / HK$195,015,005. Further highlights of the auction included a large Qing dynasty huanghuali display cabinet, which realised £1,805,000; a pair of Qianlong period famille rose elephants, which achieved £281,000, and An Autumn Day by Huang Binhong (1865-1955), which sold for £197,000. View the full results here.

Pedram Rasti, Director and Head of Chinese Works of Art Department, Christie’s London, commented: “This beautiful pair of Qianlong vases have caused great excitement, attracting the attention of key collectors internationally, both when touring to Christie’s New York and Hong Kong and on display at Christie’s King Street saleroom in London. My colleague Jeremy Morgan knew that they were very special when he saw them for the first time; the only pair of their type to have come to auction, the vases are exquisite works of art and deserve to have achieved such an exceptional price. This result builds on Christie’s outstanding Asian Art Week series in New York this March and we look forward to the sale on 12 May at Christie’s South Kensington.”

The Christie’s South Kensington sale of Chinese Ceramics, Works of Art and Textiles will be held on Friday 12 May

About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). Christie's is also recognised as a reference for prestigious single owner collections, having auctioned 8 of the 10 most important collections in history.

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including use of hologram technology to tour life-size 3D objects around the world, and the the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

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