Vietnam Art Books -- Chinese Export Porcelain from the Ca Mau Sea Treasure (February 02, 2007)

Chinese Export Porcelain from the Ca Mau Sea Treasure (February 02, 2007)

The "boy on a buffalo" pattern blue and white tea and coffee service (69).

AMSTERDAM.- The three-day auction of 76.000 pieces of Chinese export porcelain from the Ca Mau shipwreck, conducted in 5 sessions on 29, 30 and 31 January 2007 at Sotheby’s in Amsterdam, has raised a total of €3,046,716 . This figure more than doubles the pre-sale estimate of €1.4 million for the three-day auction. Proceeds from the sale will be used by the Vietnamese government to fund further salvage operations, and to provide necessary research and display facilities for the items retained.

The sale of the Chinese porcelain “Made in Imperial China” was one of the most memorable in the history of Sotheby’s in Amsterdam . It was marked by numerous lengthy and heated bidding battles with strong competition in the room and on the many telephones. All 76.000 items were sold; most lots far exceeding their high estimates. In accordance with a longstanding auctioning tradition, the auctioneer wore white gloves when he hammered down the last lot of this 100% sold sale.

Highlighting the sale was lot 366, a 69 piece tea service with the Boy on a buffalo pattern, selling for €49.200, twelve times the estimates. Lot 1071, a Chinese Imari pavilion pattern tea service went for €31.200, ten times the estimate, to a Russian buyer who also took lot 370, a Boy on a buffalo tea service for €28.800 (again ten times the estimate). Lot 329, fine hundred Fallow deer tea bowls and saucers went to a collector in South Africa for €26.500. A Dutch collector paid €26.500 for a Boy on a buffalo tea service (lot 369).

The sale saw numerous surprising bids from all over the world. To name but a few: lot 89, eight Lady feeding a deer dishes (estimated €300-500) went for €9.000 to a Dutch collector while another Dutch buyer secured lot 107, twelve Chrysanthemum bowls for €10.200 (est. €500-700). A collector in the USA obtained lot 257, eleven Lotus flowers bowls for €12.000 (est. €400-700) and lot 231, eight Deshima Island (Scheveningen) dishes went to France for €14.400 (est. €1.600-2.400). Lot 703, twelve symbol and trigrams dishes were bought by a Chinese collector for €5.760 (est. €500-700) and a buyer in Australia was successful in acquiring lot 811, a sea sculpture for €4.800 (est. €500-700).

Several museums expanded their collections. The British Museum acquired several lots including lot 980, a rare biscuit ewer and cover in the form of a seated monkey and lot 368, a Boy on the buffalo tea service.

The least expensive lot of the sale was lot 647, twenty-six Hare and moon saucers selling for €120.

Drs Mark Grol, Managing Director of Sotheby’s Amsterdam and one of the auctioneers, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the results of this sale. The buyers appreciated the quality of the porcelain that was produced in the Imperial kilns of Jingdezhen . The wonderful opportunity to be the first owner of this 18th century Chinese porcelain had a strong appeal, as was demonstrated by the exceptional competition from bidders crowding in the room or participating by telephone. The story of the shipwreck near the Vietnamese Ca Mau peninsula captured the imagination of thousands of collectors, not only in the Netherlands but also in Belgium, France , Italy , England , Ireland , Sweden , Germany , Switzerland , Middle East , South Africa , USA , Brazil , Australia , Russia , Japan , Vietnam , China and Taiwan. The fact that the pieces have been discovered after almost three centuries on the seabed made them irresistibly attractive. Once again Sotheby’s was fortunate to be entrusted with a notable international collection, turning it into a successful and memorable sale.”

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