Brushed with success

10th December 2020

A large hardwood brushpot took the top spot in this week’s Asian Art sales after vastly exceeding its modest estimate to sell for £262,500.

The substantial object (lot 38) measured almost 12 inches across and was made out of the dark and costly hardwood, zitan, which is highly desirable to Chinese collectors. It was carved with a scene of birds perched amidst prunus and bamboo, and with an inscription dating it to 1630 during the reign of the Chongzhen Emperor.

Its age and size made it attractive to Chinese bidders who pursued it hotly beyond its starting price of £8,000 to an eventual hammer price of £210,000. With the addition of buyer’s premium the winning bidder will pay over £260,000 for the rare artefact. It was bought by a private Asian buyer who was delighted with his purchase.

“Asian Art sales in 2020 have been very far from what they usually are, with the vast majority of Chinese and other Asian buyers unable to visit the UK to view and attend auctions in person,” explained Chairman and Asian Art specialist, John Axford. “Lockdowns in the UK meant that both our specialist auctions this year had to postponed from their traditional times in May and November, but results like this have proved that we can carry on even in the most restricted of circumstances.”

Bidding for the two day auction took place largely online and over the telephone, with the auction house drafting in additional Mandarin speakers to accommodate those who would ordinarily have flown to the UK especially for Asian Art week. Undaunted by not being able to view in person, bidders still participated with vigour and the eventual hammer total was just under £1.5m for both days.

To view the sale results please click here

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