Distinguished Collector’s Chinese Antiques Combined Valued At $ 11.9 Million To Be Auctioned (Part 2) | Auction news | THE VALUE


By: Sébastien Raybaud

07 Oct 2021 | game | 13:33

The provenance of Chinese antiques is very important. In addition to helping to judge the authenticity of each object, it allows the public to understand the tastes of various prominent collectors.

In this fall sale, Sotheby’s Hong Kong offers a variety of antiques from distinguished collections – the Zuellig Brothers, an American Brigadier General and the Canton Collection.

Among them, The Value chose four Chinese antiques which will be discussed below. They are expected to fetch HK $ 93 million (around US $ 11.9 million) at auction.

These items will be sold in premium bundles, alongside the flagship bundle of the sale, a Ruyi scepter from the Qianlong period (1735-1796).

This article is divided into two sections – the previous article (part 1) can be found here.

Junyao Purple Splattered Bubble Bowl

Created in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127 CE)
Diameter: 8.5cm

  • The Canton Collection, Hong Kong
  • Sotheby’s London, June 12, 2003, Lot 107

Estimated price: HK $ 18,000,000-22,000,000 (approximately $ 2.3-2.8 million)


In the history of Chinese ceramics, the Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE) pursued the pinnacle of form and color. A small bowl measuring a few inches can be worth over millions of US dollars.

The provenance of this object dates back to the Canton collection, which is part of the Pan family clan. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the family played a prestigious role in the Thirteen Factories of Canton (commercial plate for international trade, around the 17th-19th centuries) and appreciated Chinese relics.

The bubble-like texture found after the cooking process contributes to its name, the Bubble Bowl


Each bubble bowl from Jun ware has its own unique pattern and variation in tones, created as by nature. Jun ovens are predominantly blue, and if they have purple stains, they are top notch.

These small bowls or wine glasses are known in the West under the name of bubble bowls.

The finish of ceramics is different before and after the kiln. Before the cooking process, blue and purple are unique colors. After the baking process, the simple colors become more textured like bubbles, contributing to its name. Ultimately, vibrant colors, shiny enamel and rounded shape create the illusion of a soap bubble, thus giving their bubble bowl Name.

Blue and white ‘lion and ball’ pot

Mark and period of Emperor Xuande (1425-1435)
Width: 22.8 cm

  • Collection of Major Lindsay Fitzgerald Hay (1891-1946) of Bath
  • Sotheby’s London, June 16, 1939, Lot 88
  • Collection of Lionel Edwards (died circa 1944)
  • Sotheby’s London, February 8, 1945, Lot 81 (£ 145)
  • Bluett & Sons, London
  • Collection of Major Lindsay Fitzgerald Hay (1891-1946) of Bath
  • Sotheby’s London, June 25, 1946, Lot 28 (£ 92)
  • Bluett & Sons, London
  • Collection of Richard Edmund Relfe Luff, CBE (1887-1969)
  • Luff Will Trust RER collection
  • Sotheby’s London, June 26, 1973, Lot 23 (£ 47,000)
  • Hugh M. Moss Ltd, London
  • Collection of Victor Shaw, Hong Kong and Vancouver
  • Sotheby’s Hong Kong, November 29, 1976, Lot 468 (HK $ 135,000)

Estimated price: HK $ 15,000,000-18,000,000 (approximately US $ 1.9-2.3 million)


This jar from the Xuande period has a very distinguished provenance.

It was auctioned off at Sotheby’s London as early as 1939. Since then it has been sold by many famous antique dealers and collectors around the world, including British antique dealers Bluett & Sons.

In 2011, Sotheby’s Hong Kong owned a similar blue and white “lion and ball” jar from the Yongle period (reign 1402-1424), which was part of the Meiyintang collection. It was estimated to be between HK $ 40 million and HK $ 60 million (around $ 5.1-7.7 million), but it ultimately did not sell.

Blue and white ‘lion and ball’ jar on sale in this fall auction | Sotheby’s Hong Kong, October 2021

Blue and white “lion and ball” jar from the Yongle period (reign 1402-1424) | Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 2011, estimated price: HK $ 40-60 million (approx. $ 5.1-7.7 million)


This blue and white jar is an example of production from the imperial workshops of Emperor Xuande (reigned 1426-1435) in Jingdezhen, northeast China. His drawing representing playful animals, wildly chasing balls embroidered with floating ribbons, is one of the most enchanting of the time..

During the 14th and 15th centuries, Ming China flourished with its international diplomacy, bringing home exotic animals and plants from expeditions to Asia and Africa. The lion was one of these imported animals. In India, the lion is associated with Buddhism, considered a symbol of strength and protector of Buddhist teachings.

It is highly unlikely that lions made it to the Imperial workshops in China, but the animals on the current jar are depicted realistically.

Auction details

Auction house: Sotheby’s Hong Kong

Sale: Important Chinese Art, including Imperial Jades from the De An Tang Collection

Date and time: October 13, 2021 | 10 a.m. (Hong Kong local time)

Number of units: 95


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