KweiChow Maotai Auction – Wu Xing Vintage Brand Sells For £111,250

In recent years, baijiu has been enjoying an increasing presence at major auction houses. Bottles of Kweichow Moutai, in particular, are regularly selling for substantial sums (with Sotheby’s in London a prominent recent example). Christie’s of Shanghai hosted another major auction in January 2022, with an authentic 1959 bottle of Moutai the star attraction of a 71-lot auction that comprised 613 bottles in total.

Dubbed “Enticing Flavours – Kweichow Moutai Online”, the auction involved selling off the prized collection of a single individual. The exhibition allowed interested parties to place bids on individual bottles from a wide array of eras. The 1959 was the oldest bottle in the batch, estimated to raise up to CNY 1,600,000 (around £185,500). Other lots included Moutai from the 1970s, 80s, 90s and 2000s.

The 1959 vintage, dubbed the Wu Xing Moutai, is a white whale for many baijiu enthusiasts – hence the excitement. Other popular varieties were the Great Master Chang Dai-Chien Commemoration Moutai of 2012, which boasted a unique bottle design, and many other famed and celebrated years. The auction ran from January 4th to 18th and eventually closed at a value of CNY 9,525,600 (£1,103,923). Not bad for a day’s trading.

Read moreKweiChow Maotai Auction – Wu Xing Vintage Brand Sells For £111,250

£52,000 & £52,000 For Daoguang Bowls?



McTear’s auction room in Glasgow sold this pair of blue sgraffito ground famille rose bowls on December 17, the bowls had a Daoguang seal mark to the base.

Measuring under 6 inches across and the interiors decorated in underglaze blue while the exteriors were painted in famille rose colours with roundels filled with flowers all against a blue sgraffito ground.

McTear’s thought they were later copies and estimated them as such at just £100 to £200, obviously bidders thought different and took the bowls to £52,000 despite damage to both bowls.

Spookily, another pair of bowls, but this time on a yellow ground, sold at Rosebery’s auction in London on November the 9th.

Rosebery’s this time estimated their pair of yellow ground bowls at £8,000 to £12,000, and they also sold at £52,000 just like the McTear pair above.

They measured 4½in (11 cm) across. Rather than a typical Daoguang seal mark in underglaze blue, these had a four-character iron-red Shendetang Zhi marks to the bases.

It was said these bowls came by descent from the collection of Robert C Bruce (1898-1953) and were acquired by his great uncle Sir Frederick Bruce, ambassador to Peking from 1860-64.

History Of Chinese Cloisonne

Photo courtesy of

The history of Chinese cloisonne and the production of it’s ‘free standing’ objects is a surprising one. The art of cloisonne was commonly used during medieval times in most of Europe, England, the Middle-East, and the near East, on small accessories and jewelry. In fact this era coincided with the use of stained glass windows in Christian churches, and the understanding of how glass could be transformed, colored and shaped for many uses.

For cloisonne, glass flux was fired in metal cloisons, meant to reproduce the jewelled effect of precious stones in their primitive straight settings. Many cloisonne body ornaments have been found in tombs dating B.C. Today, international museums are displaying examples of Byzantine, Celtic, Persian, Egyptian, Slav, Greek, Islamic and Russian cloisonne pieces, from the B.C. and A.D. periods.

By the early 15th century, with the strong trade going to the Far East from the Near-East along the silk-route from Europe, Persia and India, cloisonne objects and other artistic crafts found their way to China and Japan. Cloisonne was adopted and became a refined and appreciated decorative medium, by the MING Dynasty emperors (1368-1644), and continued to be promoted and selectively produced from then on.

Read moreHistory Of Chinese Cloisonne

Sworders Asian Art – 5th of Nov 2021

As I mentioned earlier prices seems very strong across the board for both high end and low end items. Sworders always manage to come up with good items. Surprise of the sale for many was the bronze censer shown below which sold for £50,000.

A Chinese blue and white brush pot.

Kangxi (1662-1722), of cylindrical form, the exterior finely inscribed with the text of the Shengzhu de Xianchen Song (Ode to the Finding of Virtuous Officials by the Divine Ruler) in kaishu script, finished with a seal mark reading Xi Chao Chuan Gu (Transmitting Antiquity from the Court of Kangxi), the base centred with a recessed circle enclosing a six-character Kangxi mark in underglaze blue,

18.2cm diameter

Sold for £125,000

Read moreSworders Asian Art – 5th of Nov 2021

Lyon And Turnbulls Top Selling Lots – 5th Nov 2021 – Fine Asian & Islamic Works of Art

Prices seem strong right across the board for high and low end items in and around all the current Asian art sales.

Top selling three lots in L & Ts sale…



One side enamelled with a pair of birds perching on flowering tree issuing from rockwork amongst other plants, against a navy blue ground, the reverse with a quaint walled garden surrounded by water with hills and a pagoda afar, surrounded by gilded borders, mounted on a fitted wooden stand.

17.2cm x 13.2cm

Sold for £50,000

Read moreLyon And Turnbulls Top Selling Lots – 5th Nov 2021 – Fine Asian & Islamic Works of Art

I Wish I Could Buy Shares In Hanson’s Auctioneers!

I obviously follow all news regarding Chinese antiques and monitor Chinese lots offered by all the UK auction houses. Hanson’s auctioneers have an constant track record and an uncanny knack of discovering rare and valuable Chinese works of art. 😕

If shares were available to buy in Hanson’s auctioneers then I would defiantly want in! Its a no brainer – the finds are so consistent the shares could not fail to increase in value.

Lets look at some finds made by Hanson’s…

Sold for £55,000 – ‘Worthless’ cracked vase sells for £55,000 after years sitting on top of cabinet. Mr Hanson said: “I spotted it on top of her glass cabinet and immediately recognised its potential. The owner said: “I remember seeing it at my grandparents’ house a long time ago but I don’t know how long they’d had it or how they came to own it.

Sold for £650,000 – Apparently used as a door stop and was going to be sold at the car boot sale but at the last minute the couple changed their minds and decided to take it to Hansons.

Sold for £200,000 – The story goes as follows, the vase was damaged during a party and re-glued. The vase was found under a table during a house visit.

Sold for £360,000 – It is said the vase came from a modest looking house, sitting on a mantel piece for years and the owners not knowing its value.

Sold for £192,000 – The owners said they would have happily taken £25 for the vase. The vase had been left to the couple from an unclue that had worked in the far East.

Sold for £30,000 – The story goes the bowl was found in a box of bric-a-brac brought into the auction. The vendor is said to be astonished at the bowls value.

Sold for £100,000 – Languishing on a humble sideboard in a South West London home along with various 19th century Japanese ceramics.

Sold for £390,000 – Found in a garage??? eh – The anonymous seller, who almost took it to a charity shop, said he might use the cash to buy a metal detector.


Tianbai Glaze (Sweet White)


White porcelain was of special significance for the court during the Yongle reign (1403-24). The sophistication of the production of white-glazed porcelain during the Yongle period of the Ming dynasty may be attributed to the Emperor’s personal fondness for white vessels.

The production of white-glazed porcelain during the Yongle period achieved technical virtuosity, distinguished by the very fine white body clay and luminous white glaze, which earned the name tianbai or ‘sweet white’ glaze. Tests, conducted on excavated pieces of Tianbai wares from the Site of the Ming Imperial Factory at Jingdezhen, discovered that the pure white porcelain resulted from the combination of a kaolin-rich paste with very low iron and titanium content and a glaze containing mainly glaze stone and no glaze ash.

Read moreTianbai Glaze (Sweet White)

What’s Been Happening In The Auctions? Potential Problem!

Lets look at two pieces of Chinese porcelain recently sold for big money.

1st Lot: Briggs Auction’s Fine Estates Auction held on July 30th

A doucai conical bowl and cover decorated with dragons just sold for $200,000 in the USA. The bowl is said to have been part of a collection from a direct descendant of Thomas Alexander Scott (Pennsylvania, 1823–1881). The bowl bore a six character Yongzheng mark to the base.

Mr. Turner from Briggs Auction said “It was very exciting and gratifying to see this rare piece of Chinese decorative arts be so competitively fought over by bidders across the globe. The intense interest this small bowl generated almost from the day the auction was posted online showed us that we had an incredibly special piece on our hands. We’re very happy not only for the consignor’s family, and for the bowl’s new owner as well.”

Irv: I remember being the under bidder on a similar pair of Yongzheng bowls, missing their covers sold by Shapes auction up in Scotland a few years ago, the bowls offered for sale by Shapes was damaged. Christie’s have sold these bowls perfect for around $160,000.

See the shapes auction info HERE

Irv: I have real troubles with this next lot, I will explain after the news pieces below…

Headline reads: Chinese Ru ware sells at Stamford Auction Rooms for surprise price!

2nd Lot: A censer (but described as a bowl, pot and a plant stand in the press release). Anyway the censer had an estimate of £800 but sold for £320,000.

The official description for the piece which was lot number 392 read: A Chinese celadon vase (its a vase now).

Auctioneer Jessica Wall said “There was no indication it would fly in the way that it did,” Ms Wall added, with the item finally fetching £320,000, before fees.

Recounting the moment the hammer came down on the auction two weeks ago, Ms Wall said: “It was quite a moment.

“When it got to about £10,000, I thought it was interesting and a good result but that it would stop there. It kept going and I started to get butterflies.”

The family of the deceased are said to be “blown away” by the sale, the auction house said.

The eventual buyer, who travelled from London to Stamford for the auction, has chosen to remain anonymous.

“It’s extremely rare for such a big surprise like this, but it’s every auctioneer’s dream,” Ms Wall added.

Irv: Here’s the problem – Someone is touting this censer off as being Ru ware within the online press articles, if it is the auctioneer making these claims then she needs to be careful as the buyer will be able to seek a refund.

Why would the buyer want a refund? There is only around 70 intact pieces of Ru ware known in the world. The buyer HAS ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE of getting this censer certified as genuine Ru Ware. If a piece of Ru Ware comes onto the market from a trusted source it is first scrutinized for months by a group of the worlds most respected and knowledgeable scholars in the Chinese art community and if they say no to a piece then it is worthless.

This censer has turned up out of the blue with no solid provenance.

I know from personal experience how the game works, even if the piece is somehow miraculously period it would still not find its way to the Ru ware round table panel of experts as its provenance or lack of would not even get it to the starting gate.

Fingers crossed for the buyer.