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Bonhams Hong Kong crown inaugural series of auction gallery sales with record for Imperial lacquer
Lot 1278 Zhang Daqian-A Pair Perched Amidst Red Leaves

HONG KONG.- The first sale of six auctions in Bonhams unique purpose-built Auction Gallery at Suite 2001, One Pacific Place, Admiralty in Hong Kong culminated in a sale of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art which saw an unprecedented price achieved for a unique Imperial Ming lacquer scholars object.

Consigned for a special auction to commemorate Bonhams first ever Chinese Works of Art sale in its new architect designed all-year premises, the unique large cinnabar double-scroll rectangular carved stand set a new record for any piece of Chinese lacquer sold at Bonhams. Active bidding from collectors and dealers in Asia, Europe and America led to the estimates being greatly exceeded when an Asian buyer in the saleroom secured this great rarity for HK$5,320,000. Consigned from the Kaisendo Museum, located in Kaminoyama city in Yamagata prefecture in Japan, the scroll-rest was followed by a remarkable pair of carved cinnabar lacquer ‘one hundred boys’ rectangular boxes and covers, also intended for the scholar’s desk, sold together to preserve them as an exceptionally rare matched stationery and inkstone box. They also substantially exceeded their estimates to sell for HK$3,160,000. The final lot from the Kaisendo Museum, a rare three-colour lacquer circular ‘Pavilion’ box and cover, sold for HK$937,500.

These three lots from the Kaisendo Museum represented the highlights in a large auction which also saw strong prices for fine examples of jade carvings and Imperial porcelain.

The sale of Classical and Modern Chinese Ink Paintings achieved the highest total for this category Bonhams Hong Kong has ever achieved since it opened in 2007. This auction saw top prices for paintings by 20th Century masters including the exceptional study of ‘A Pair of Songbirds Perched Amidst Red Leaves’ by Zhang Daqian (1899-1983), which was bought by a new bidder to Bonhams for a record price of HK$9,040,000. Classical calligraphy included an exceptional rarity by the famous Ming dynasty artist Wen Zhengming (1470-1559) which recounts a famous Ming fictional story, ‘The Tale of the Old Drunkard Pavilion’, and went to a new private buyer for HK$7,840,000. A full audience showed the Chinese paintings market remains very strong at the top level.

Other categories of auctions held during the two weeks of sales at Bonhams Hong Kong included Fine and Rare Wines, Cognac and Single Malt Whisky which was notable for the consistently high prices paid for single malt whisky from distinguished distilleries in Scotland and Japan.

Fine Jewellery and Jadeite saw consistent bidding for a wide range of fine stones and signed jewellery. The auction of Fine Watches and Wristwatches demonstrated that the market is still buoyant for working vintage and modern pieces from famous brands. The Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art sale was notable for the highest price ever paid at Bonhams for a painting by Liu Ye (b.1964) ‘Red, Yellow, Blue’ which sold for HK$6,040,000 and for achieving HK$1,360,000 for the dramatic and richly coloured family scene ‘Ibu dan Anak-Anak’ by distinguished Indonesian artist Hendra Gungawan (1918-1983).

Bonhams’ initiative in creating a purpose-built Hong Kong auction venue has as anticipated already attracted several single-owner collections to be sold during the autumn season outside the traditional short overcrowded weeks of premier sales, and looks set to create a new international standard for year round auction events in the Asia region.

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