£200,000 Ming Dynasty Cup Stars at Essex Auction

Category: ASIAN ART
Essex auctioneers Sworders outranked most prices in the London salerooms for the November Asian Art auction series by taking £200,000 for this highly carved c.1600 late Ming Dynasty libation cup.
An exceptional design for such a piece, the 7½ wide by 5½in high (19 x 14cm) cup sold to a Chinese buyer in the Stansted Mountfitchet rooms battling it out against ten phone bidders on 8 November.

Made from rhinoceros horn, the 400-year-old carving is subject to strict international laws, drawn up to protect endangered species, that allow for the sale and export of such pieces under highly restricted conditions.

The sale at Sworders, which included a number of other highlights, is part of a wider celebration of works of art from China, Japan, Korea and India that has grown up around the ten-day Asian Art in London festival of auctions, gallery shows, museum exhibitions and talks that bring in collectors and academics from all over the world.

Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Bonhams all held successful sales in the capital, but Sworders £200,000 cup easily stood shoulder to shoulder with their top lots, beating all but seven pieces on price in Christie’s premium 200-lot auction and all but four lots at Bonhams and three at Sotheby’s in equivalent sales of hundreds of pieces.

Sworders’ libation cup, which had carried a top estimate of £50,000, is just the latest in a series of exceptional Chinese works sold by the Essex auction house. In April 2014, they took £150,000 hammer for a very large, carved Zitan wood ‘Hundred Boys’ bitong or brushpot, dating to the late 18th or early 19th century, that had been used as a doorstop in a Hertfordshire cottage for over 40 years.

“We are delighted to have secured a price for our consignor that any of the top London salerooms would be proud of, and during the most important season for Asian art,” said Guy Schooling, Sworders’ managing director.

“With the level of specialist expertise we can offer in-house – including a native Chinese speaker – our global reach through marketing and live online bidding, we have no problem attracting buyers from among the world’s leading collectors, whether they are in mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore or elsewhere.” We are already welcoming entries for our next Asian Art sale in May 2017. If you wish to consign or have any further enquiries, please contact Yexue Li - yexueli@sworder.co.uk or 01279 817778.


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