Tiny Chinese bowl set to sell for giant price at auction

Posted on 05/02/2020 in Press Coverage

A tiny bowl, not even big enough to hold your favourite breakfast cereal, is set to sell for tens of thousands of pounds at auction.

Measuring just 14.8cm in diameter, it can sit in the palm of your hand but it's highly valuable thanks to its pedigree. It was made during the reign of China’s Emperor Yongzheng, which lasted from 1722-35 during the Qing Dynasty.

Uncovered after nearly 300 years, it’s expected to fetch in excess of £25,000 when it’s sold by Hansons Auctioneers in London on February 22.

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons, said: “We spied it in a box of general items a client brought along to the saleroom for valuation and sale.

“Instinctively, thanks to the quality of the paste and the delicacy of the painting, I knew it was something special. Its six-character script mark confirmed it was from the reign of Emperor Yongzheng who ruled from 1722-35 during the Qing Dynasty.

“This humble blue and white object is a rare Eight Immortals bowl in underglaze blue. It’s nearly 300 years old buy it’s survived through the centuries and boasts an exquisite pedigree having emerged from the home of fine ceramics. Porcelain was invented during the Han dynasty (206 BC - 220 BC) at a place called Ch’ang-nan in the district of Fou-Iiang in China.

“Its exterior is finely decorated with the Eight Daoist Immortals shown with their attributes standing atop a wave border. Meanwhile the three Star Gods, Shoulao, Fuxing and Luxing, are depicted in a garden beneath an arched pine tree within a circular roundel in the centre of the bowl.

“It’s beautiful in its simplicity and elegance and is sure to spark major interest. Ancient Chinese ceramics are fiercely sought after by wealthy collectors keen to repatriate precious historical objects like this to their homeland.

“Every now and then, we uncover something spectacular that sends the Chinese or Oriental market into a frenzy. I’ll never forget the Chinese vase a couple brought along for free valuation in 2011, hoping to get £25. It turned out to be Quing Dynasty with the daoguang period mark (1821-1850). It sold for £192,000.

Then in 2016 a large Emperor Qianlong (1735-99) Chinese vase, used as a doorstop, was contested to £650,000.

Fast forward to 2017 when an Emperor Yongzheng Chinese plate, circa 1723-1735 – the same time period as our recent find – was discovered in a Derbyshire kitchen cupboard. It sold for £230,000.

Free valuations of Chinese and Oriental objects at Hansons

Hansons’ Chinese and Oriental art expert Dr Eldon Worrall will be offering free Chinese and Oriental ceramic valuations at Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall, Derbyshire DE65 6LS, on February 27, April 30, June 25, August 27 and October 29, 10am-4pm, no appointment necessary.

Alternatively, please email [email protected] or call 01283 733988. The Eight Immortals bowl will be sold on February 22 at Hansons London. Hansonsis inviting entries of Oriental art and ceramics, as well as all manner of other objects, for its Spring Fine Art Library, Watches and Jewellery auctions.