Most expensive Chinese ceramic

Image: Sotheby's Image: Sotheby's

In October last year, a new world record for a Chinese ceramic was set when a piece sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong for $37.7 million. The piece was an extremely rare Ru Guanyao brush washer from the Northern Song Dynasty from The Le Cong Tang Collection. The blue-green vessel for cleaning brushes, which was lent to the collection of the Chang Foundation at the Hongxi Museum in Taipei, broke all records for Chinese ceramics after a 20 minute bidding battle ended with a winning bid of $37.7 million for the 900-year-old piece.

The ceramic sold at Sotheby's is a brilliant example of Ru Guanyao (1086-1106) and shows the perfection that was achieved by artisans during the late Northern Song Dynasty, which stretched from 960-1127. The small ceramic pot, a highly unusual pieces, was part of The Le Cong Tang Collection. An anonymous buyer claimed victory in the bidding battle.

Chicken Little that made the headlines

The Ming-era Meiyintang Chenghua 'Chicken Cup' was sold for a record breaking $36.05 million in Hong Kong on April 8, 2014. The buyer was a collector from Mainland China. The Ming-era Meiyintang Chenghua 'Chicken Cup' was sold for a record breaking $36.05 million in Hong Kong on April 8, 2014. The buyer was a collector from Mainland China.

The Ru Guanyao broke the record set in April 2014 by the Meiyintang Chenghua 'Chicken Cup' sold for $29.5 million (281 million HKD) at Sotheby's. 'Chicken cups' are small porcelain wine cups painted with cocks, hens and chickens. They have become one of the most desirable pieces of Chinese collectables for connoisseurs.

They were created during the Chenghua reign (1465–87.) The cup that sold at Sotheby's in 2014 was from the Meiyintang collection, one of the best private collections of Chinese ceramics.

Wang Meng: The Master of the Yuan Dynasty

002564baa0180f5562940c Image: Beijing Poly Auction Company

In 2011, Yuan Dynasty painter Wang Meng's masterpiece Zhichuan Resettlement sold for $62.11 million at Beijing Poly Auction Company. The hanging scroll set  new world record and became the most expensive piece of Chinese art sold at auction.

Wang Meng (c. 1308 – 1385) is considered by art historians as one of the Four Masters of the Yuan Dynasty, he was a maternal grandson of the scholar Zhao Mengfu, which made him a descendant of the Song Dynasty.

Today, artworks by Wang Meng are in important collections around the world including the Palace Museum in Beijing, Taiwan's National Palace Museum, Shanghai Museum, Cleveland Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Most expensive living Chinese artist

Image: Cui Ruzhuo Image: Beijing Poly Auction Company

In 2014, when Cui Ruzhuo 丹枫白雪 (Landscape in Snow) (2006) sold at Poly Auction for $23 725 710 it smashed the previous record set by Zeng Fanzhi, making Cui the most expensive living Chinese artist at auction.

Cui Ruzhuo was born in 1944 in Beijing and studied under the painter and calligrapher Li Kuchan  at the Academy of Arts and Design in Beijing before moving to America in 1981.

In 2015, Cui Ruzhuo was listed in the annual ''rich list'' of 100 most expensive Chinese artists based on sales of works at public auctions during the previous year published by Hurun Report and Artron. The list that year featured 74 ink artists.

The work that broke the $100 million mark at auction

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In December last year, twelve small paintings by artist Qi Baishi set a new record for a work of Chinese art as it sold for $140.8 million, making Baishi the first Chinese artist to break the $100 million mark at auction.

The piece, which was sold at Beijing Poly International Auction, made Baishi, who was born to a poor family, one of the world's most valued Chinese artists of 2017.

Check out more realized prices for Chinese art here.