Liu Yiqian, owner of Shanghai’s Long Museum, paid a world record-breaking HK$281.24 million (224 million RMB) for this Ming Dynasty wine cup at Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong today. Not only that but Liu apparently thought the cost was quite reasonable, stating “why do you all care so much about the price?” WSJ reports:
“I bought it only because I like it,” said Mr. Liu, who made his fortune in finance. He also owns, along with his wife Wang Wei, the Long Museum in Shanghai, a private museum that houses a portion of his vast collection.
The cup, which was made in imperial kilns during the emperor Chenghua’s reign in the 15th-century, surpassed the previous record of HK$252.7 million paid for a yellow-ground famille-rose vase in October 2010, also at a Sotheby’s sale in Hong Kong.
But that doesn’t begin to convey it’s uniqueness. Reports SCMP:
Nicholas Chow, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, said it is now the most expensive three-dimensional Chinese art piece in the world, with a value second only to top Chinese paintings.
“This is perhaps among all porcelains ever produced throughout the history of China the most forged. There are tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of copies going around in China,” he said.
“There’s no more legendary object in the history of Chinese porcelain,” said Chow. “This is really the holy grail when it comes to Chinese art.” Sixteen chicken cups still exist, including four in private hands.
Chow predicts that Liu will likely put the cup on display at Shanghai’s Long Museum, a second branch of which just opened on the West Bund. So keep an eye out for it next time you’re there, Shanghailanders!
Long Museum – No. 210, 2255 Luoshan Lu, near Huamu Lu (罗山路2255弄210号,
近花木路). Tel: (0)21-6877-8787. Hours: 9:30am-5pm. Closest metro stop: Huamu Road, line 7.
More on Liu Yiqian here.