Chinese vase found in attic sells for €16.2 million

The exquisite porcelain vessel was made for the Qing dynasty Emperor Qianlong and had set a guide price of a modest €500,000. (AFP)
Updated 12 June 2018
0

Chinese vase found in attic sells for €16.2 million

PARIS: An 18th-century Chinese vase forgotten for decades in a shoe box in a French attic sold for €16.2 million at Sotheby’s in Paris on Tuesday — more than 30 times the estimate.
Experts at the auction house said the exquisite porcelain vessel was made for the Qing dynasty Emperor Qianlong and had set a guide price of a much more modest €500,000.
“This is a major work of art, it is as if we had just discovered a Caravaggio,” Olivier Valmier, the Asian arts expert at the auction house, told reporters before the sale.
The vase, which was in perfect condition, “is the only known example in the world bearing such detail,” he added.
Rare porcelain from the Qianlong period has been going for astronomical prices recently, with a bowl sold last April by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong for $30.4 million.
The vase — which is decorated with images of deer and cranes — was found by chance among dozens of other pieces of Chinoiserie in the attic of a house in France earlier this year.
The family had acquired it at the end of the 19th century but it has lain unloved in a shoe box in the attic for decades.
“We didn’t like the vase too much, and my grandparents didn’t like it either,” said the owner of the piece, who only got in touch with Sotheby’s in March.
It was still in the shoe box when it was presented to Sotheby’s experts for authentication.
The staggering price paid by a young Chinese collector, who was at the auction himself, is the highest ever recorded by the auction house in Paris.
“Such elaborate and challenging designs are exceedingly rare on Qing imperial porcelain,” Sotheby’s said on its website.


Opening the door to Middle Eastern designers at Dubai Design Week

Updated 14 November 2018
0

Opening the door to Middle Eastern designers at Dubai Design Week

  • This year, five pavilions from Amman, Beirut, Dubai, the Eastern Provinces of KSA and Kuwait City are showing off
  • The Abwab exhibit is just one thought-provoking, Instagram-worthy part of Dubai Design Week

DUBAI: Named after the Arabic word for “doors,” Abwab is an annual exhibition at Dubai Design Week, a creative fair that runs until Nov. 17.

This year, five pavilions from Amman, Beirut, Dubai, the Eastern Provinces of KSA and Kuwait City are showing off their artistic innovations in Dubai Design District, where the event is based.

Two designers were invited from each place to collaborate and produce works related to the theme “Between the Lines.”

The creations are housed in five pavilions at the heart of Dubai Design District, made up of red twigs and newspaper pulp and designed by the firm Architecture + Other Things.

Visitors crowded around the pavilions at the opening of the fair on Tuesday and explored the five spaces with their unique, sometimes perplexing, offerings.

Amman‘s pavilion at the Abwab exhibit is called “Duwar,” roundabout in Arabic, and is described as a representation of the cycle between chaos and order. The exhibit is a walk-through piece featuring moving images on boards suspended from the low ceiling of the circular space. Visitors are encouraged to walk through the dark circular corridor and take in the constantly flashing imagery above them in the piece that was created by multidisciplinary designer Hashem Joucka and architect Basel Naouri.

Beirut’s contribution to the Abwab exhibit is called “Beirut Fillers” and features a series of suspended words in a constructed sensorial environment, complete with audio recordings of the words “euhhh,” “halla2,” “enno” and “fa,” all of which are linguistic fillers commonly heard in Beiruti conversation.  

For its part, the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia is showcasing a fascinating piece of work called “The Sound of the East Coast” that pays homage to the tradition of pearl diving in the area with shaking, jelly-like bowls. The installation even features audio recordings of the traditional song “El Yamal,” often chanted to keep the divers motivated.

While Kuwait City’s offering, called “Desert Cast,” uses locally sourced materials and production methods to explore the idea of identity in the country, Dubai’s piece at the exhibit is called “Thulathi: Threefold” and is marked by a protruding triangular section that breaks the natural form of the rounded pavilion. Each corner of the triangle opens slightly through apertures, revealing video projections and silhouette cutouts.

The Abwab exhibit is just one thought-provoking, Instagram-worthy part of Dubai Design Week, an event that boasts workshops, exhibits and a trade fair.