“It’s exceptional,” Kashif Khan, managing director of the Ritchies auction house on Bathurst St., said Monday.
Khan credited Sunday’s record-breaking sale of a Qing Dynasty vase to factors that include improved finances and the recent easing of regulations governing ownership of artwork in China.
“Because China has been doing so well economically, they want to buy their stuff back,” he said. Until recently, “they couldn’t afford anything.”
The blue and white “Dragon and Lotus” porcelain vase, which dates to the 1700s, was estimated to sell for $180,000 to $300,000, Khan said.
Emperors often used Chinese dragons to symbolize their imperial power and strength.
The Qing Dynasty ruled China from 1644 to 1912 and was replaced by the Republic of China, before the Communist takeover in 1949.
“For Asian art, this is a phenomenal price in Canada,” said Jackie Kung, Ritchies’ Asian expert.
The vase was consigned to the auction house by members of the Manchu Aisin Gioro family, who — as descendants of the Last Qing Dynasty — maintain a low profile in Thailand, she said.
Kung said they chose the Canadian firm because of increased prices in this country for rare collectibles, including Chinese art.
There was one bidder in the audience, plus several online and by phone. When offers from overseas leapt far ahead of the estimate, “the audience went crazy,” said Ritchies spokesman Bruce Nagy.
Other Chinese artifacts, including other vases, carved wooden figures, jade and Buddhas, were also offered for sale.