The regional French auction house of Rouillac offered a Qianlong moonflask on Sunday June 10th for €600-800k but the international bidders had already discovered the work. The auction house already knew who its likeliest buyers would be. They played the national anthem of the People’s Republic of China before the lot was auctioned to bidders who drove the price to €4.1m on the hammer. That put the all-in price to the buyer at €4.92m ($5.79m.)
The work of art was originally acquired by a French Royal Navy Staff Officer on a mission to the China Sea in the years 1842-1847 and passed down through the family. It is a rare blue, white and celadon porcelain ‘Baoyueping Moonflask’ similar to one sold on April 10, 2006 at Sotheby’s Hong Kong for more than $2m. Other similar ceramics in blue and white porcelain are in the collections at the Harvard Art Museum, Cambridge, the Yunnan Provincial Museum, Kunming, the National Museum of China, Beijing, and the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.