Ancient Chinese vase set to fetch more than S$10 million in Hong Kong

A Chinese Guan Vase of the Southern Song Dynasty is shown to the media in Hong Kong on Monday. The rare vase is expected to fetch more than 60 million HKD  at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Chinese Works of Art Spring Sales 2015 which will take place on
A Chinese Guan Vase of the Southern Song Dynasty is shown to the media in Hong Kong on Monday. The rare vase is expected to fetch more than 60 million HKD  at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Chinese Works of Art Spring Sales 2015 which will take place on April 7. -- PHOTO: AFP 

HONG KONG (AFP) - A simple Chinese vase made over 800 years ago and unveiled in Hong Kong Monday is expected to fetch HK$60 million (S$10.6 million) when it goes under the hammer next month, Sotheby's said.

The plain octagonal piece, tinted a milky blue, was created during the Southern Song Dynasty - which ruled southern China from 1127-1279 - and is just 20 centimetres tall.

Despite its simplicity it represents the most coveted art of the period, Sotheby's said, since it is part of a rare collection crafted for the imperial court, known as "guan yao" or "official ware".

The vase is from the same collection as a Chinese porcelain bowl created at around the same time, which fetched nearly $27 million at a Sotheby's sale in April 2012. That price was a record for Song Dynasty ceramics.

"This for me epitomises what's most sublime in the Chinese artistic tradition, which is simplicity and naturalness of design, powerful yet understated and unselfconsciously beautiful," Sotheby's director and international specialist for Chinese works of art Julian King said.

Hong Kong has emerged as one of the biggest global auction hubs alongside New York and London, fuelled by China's economic boom and demand from Chinese and other Asian collectors.

A Ming Dynasty wine cup broke the world auction record for Chinese porcelain in 2014, selling for US$36.05 million in Hong Kong.

The Southern Song Dynasty vase is part of Sotheby's Hong Kong Chinese Works of Art spring sale, which starts on April 7.