A blue and white porcelain Dragon jar had a huge result at Bonhams & Butterfields in San Francisco at the Fine Asian Works of Art sale on Monday December 13th. The 14-inch high jar was described conservatively as Qianlong Mark, Late Qing/Republic Period and given a pre-sale estimate of $10,000-15,000. But bidders who felt the dragon jar was a unique treasure pushed the bidding sky-high. It eventually sold for $7.658 million.
Dessa Goddard, Vice President and Director, Asian Works of Art said, speaking about the sale: "The jar proved to be a puzzle for several clients with whom I spoke who all declared it to be unique. Without a consensus of opinion we felt obliged to be cautious with our attribution. Needless to say, we are elated that the jar achieved such a spectacular price. Its sale provided a fantastic slice of auction drama that our clients and staff will remember for many years to come."
The jar is decorated with bands of plantain leaves, waves, and a cloud-collar at the waisted neck and broad shoulders. The sides are painted with six dragons emerging from crashing waves and flying amid stylized clouds and flames. The sale brought in more than $19 million total.
Just last month an 18th century Chinese porcelain vase from the Qianlong period stunned the world when it sold for £43 million ($69.3 million) at Bainbridges Auctions. The vase was only estimated to sell for £1.2 million but fierce bidding among Chinese would-be buyers drove up the price. The vase sold to a Chinese bidder who turned up to bid on behalf of an undisclosed buyer.