Three classic Chinese works of art were all auctioned for more than HK0 million (.7 million), during major sales at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong which ended Tuesday.
A 15th-century collection of 10 albums of the Prajnaparamita Sutra or Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom and an 18th-century enamel porcelain bowl fetched HK9 million.
The sutra, a collection of Buddhist manuscripts, was made on the order of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) Emperor Xuande. The emperor appointed an esteemed monk, Huijin, to copy the sutras by using liquid gold and writing on indigo-colored ritual paper.
The enamel bowl with a soft pink base is an exemplar of the falangcai porcelain production technique. The bowl was first fired plain at imperial kilns in Jingdezhen, the “porcelain capital” in Jiangxi province, then transported to the Forbidden City where it was painted and fired again at the imperial workshops under the supervision of its patron, Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) Emperor Kangxi.
Kangxi is known for his passion for art which was inherited by his son, emperor Yongzheng and grandson, Emperor Qianlong.
Among Emperor Qianlong’s favored artists, there was Qian Weicheng, who also served as a high-ranking official during Qianlong’ reign.
An album of 10 mountain-and-water ink paintings by Qian was sold for HK7 million. It portrays different landscapes of the Mount Tiantai, in Zhejiang province. It was gifted to Qianlong, who felt so moved he inscribed one of his own poems on each painting.
The album was transported out of the Forbidden City in the early 20th century by Qing's last emperor Puyi, and then sent to a European collector.