Guan Vase (Song dynasty)
After 40 years in a private collection, this blue green ceramic Guan Vase was purchased during Sotheby’s Hong Kong’s spring auction season by Liu Yiqian for a cool $14.7 million.
Guan yao, the fabled ‘official ware’ specially created for the imperial court of the Southern Song Dynasty, is perhaps the most desirable and certainly one of the rarest types of Chinese ceramics. The exquisite soft blue glaze, suffused with a distinct web of veins of the large-scale crackle, gives the whole piece an aspect as if carved out of one large boulder of a fine jade-like stone. Although this crackled bluish-green guan ware became one of China’s most widely admired and most avidly imitated ceramic styles, actual examples are exceedingly rare even in the Palace Museums of Taipei and Beijing, since despite the expertise of the craftsmen, a satisfactory outcome was rare even at the time.
Moral of the story – By a pretty piece of pottery, wait 1,000 years and sell it for a couple million dollars more than you paid for it.
And oh by the way, the same gentlemen that purchase this vase also Purchased one of the famed chicken cups at auction in 2014 for 36.3 million dollars.