Ming vase smashes record at mixed Sotheby's sale in Hong Kong

The biannual Sotheby's sales are considered a key indicator of the Asian art market. While ceramics and classic Chinese paintings performed solidly, the Asian and Chinese contemporary art sales showed signs of strain, with unsold work ratios of over 20 percent as the global economic uncertainty deepens.
Whilst some major lots with conspicuous cracks failed to sell, bidding was strong for a sublime blue and white "meiping" vase of fruit sprays from the Ming Yongle period that went for HK$168.7 million ($21.6 million) to a telephone bidder, a world record at auction for any piece of Chinese Ming porcelain.
This "macho" Ming Dynasty meiping vase of the Yongle imperial period (XVth century) was offered by Sotheyby's Hong Kong at an estimated $10.3 million-12.8 million and sold with $21.6 million

"The Ming was strong this time," said William Chak, a prominent Hong Kong dealer who bought a sky-blue Yongzheng gourd vase at the sale for HK$4.6 million.
Ming porcelain (1368-1644), older though often less decorative and ornate than Qing (1644-1911) wares, has in recent years been relatively less desired by nouveau riche mainland Chinese buyers, meaning its prices haven't reached anywhere near the heights of dazzling late Qing trophy pieces.
The Meiyintang collection was built up over more than 50 years by two Swiss brothers, Stephen and Gilbert Zuellig, who were advised by the legendary dealer and connoisseur Edward Chow and the elder statesman of antiquities collectors, Giuseppe Eskenazi. It comprises some 2,000 pieces ranging from the Neolithic period through to the Qing Dynasty and is widely considered to be the greatest collection of Chinese porcelain still in private hands in the west.