The intoxicating feeling of power that comes with holding imperial items seems to be fueling the market for Chinese works of art. Who could blame a Chinese multi-millionaire from wanting that thrill? Scott Reyburn tallies up London’s Asia week sales data on Bloomberg. They started with a Qianlong Emperor’s seal making £3.6m last night at Sotheby’s.
“We’ve seen a really aggressive push from mainland Chinese collectors during the last season of sales,” Nicolas Chow, Sotheby’s international head of Chinese ceramics and works of art, said in an interview. “What is new is that they’re buying things at the very highest level,” he said. The seal was “like holding Imperial power in the palm of your hand.”
Christie’s ceramics sale came in at the high end of the estimate range earlier in the week. But their ceramics sale earlier in the week hit the high end of the estimate range. That’s all because of demand from China:
“Now English isn’t much heard at the views of these London auctions,” said Marco Almeida, Christie’s London-based specialist in Chinese ceramics and works of art. “It’s just Mandarin and Cantonese.”