Very rare Qing Dynasty bowl seen topping S$34 million at auction

The dainty pink bowl is one of only three known to exist.
The dainty pink bowl is one of only three known to exist.PHOTO: AFP
A rare enamelled gold-pink Falangcai Bowl from the Qing dynasty, expected to be a record breaker for Chinese ceramics with an estimated value of US$25.6 million (S$33 million), was unveiled on Thursday.

HONG KONG (AFP) - An extremely rare Qing Dynasty bowl - one of only three known to exist - is expected to fetch US$25.6 million (S$34 million) and could even break the record for Chinese ceramics, auction house Sotheby's said on Thursday (March 1).

Measuring 14.7cm in diameter, the dainty pink bowl is decorated with falangcai (painted enamels combining Chinese and Western techniques) and flowers, including daffodils, which are not typically depicted on Chinese porcelain.

Hong Kong's auction houses have seen frenzied bidding among Asian buyers in recent years, with sales of diamonds, handbags and ancient ceramics shattering world records.

Sotheby's Hong Kong expects the Qing Dynasty bowl, used by the Kangxi Emperor in the 1720s, to make history again in an upcoming sale on April 3.

"Definitely we will see the most important collectors of Chinese porcelain active," deputy chairman for Sotheby's Asia Nicolas Chow said in a preview on Thursday.

"We will see quite a battle this season," he added.

The bowl was created in an imperial workshop within Beijing's Forbidden City by a small team of craftsmen, with the help of Jesuits from Europe who had brought over new techniques and materials, according to Sotheby's.

Last year, a 1,000-year-old bowl from China's Song Dynasty sold for US$37.7 million, setting a record for Chinese ceramics.

That sale surpassed the previous record of US$36.05 million set in 2014 for a Ming Dynasty wine cup which was snapped up by a Shanghai tycoon famous for making eye-watering bids.