Ming vase is sold for £5.3m record

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The Independent Online

An early Ming vase, more than 600 years old, has become the most expensive Ming porcelain sold, with a price of more than $10m (£5.3m).

The vase was sold by Christie's in Hong Kong yesterday, a day when several world records for Chinese art tumbled. It was bought by Steve Wynn, the chairman of Wynn Resorts, a casino business, who plans to donate it to a public museum in Macau.

The vase first came on the market in 1984, when it was sold in London by a Scottish couple who had used it as a lamp stand until they saw a similar example in a museum and realised its importance. It set a world record at the time of £421,200 and has been sold twice since, the last time in Hong Kong nine years ago for $2.86m.

Described as an underglaze copper-red pear-shaped vase decorated with a peony scroll from the Hongwu period (1368-1398), it is in perfect condition.

Vases with the copper-red underglaze are rare as the mineral copper is difficult to control during firing. The failure rate was so high that potters had to plead with officials to reduce the numbers requested by the imperial court.

Pola Antebi, the auction house's head of Chinese ceramics, said it was an exceptional piece. "We are particularly thrilled that it will be returning to China where it can be enjoyed and appreciated by the maximum number of students and art lovers," he said.

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