Rare antique Chinese Ding Bowl sold for US$4.2M

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A rare antique Chinese Ding Bowl was sold for over 4.2 million U.S. dollars Thursday at Christie's in New York.

The museum-quality piece -- a Ding russet-splashed black-glazed conical bowl that dates back to the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) -- was sold for 4,212,500 U.S. dollars, said the auction agency in a press release.

The Ding Bowl is the highest estimated among the Chinese ceramics and works of art offered at Christie's in New York in the ongoing Asian Art Week sales, which runs on March 16-23.

Only three dark-glazed bowls with russet streaks are known to exist today: one of them belongs to Harvard Art Museum at Cambridge, the U.S. state of Massachusetts, and one to the National Palace Museum in Taipei, China, according to experts. The bowl at Christie's is the only example which is available to a collector today.

The ancient piece is described as a Ding bowl because of the county Ding in the Hebei province, China, where the kilns used to make the bowls were housed. Ding ware is regarded as one of the five great wares of the Song Dynasty.

"This vessel is believed to serve high society given its superb quality as the dark-glazed vessels became popular in the Song with the rising popularity of white tea," Olivia Hamilton, a specialist in Chinese Works of Art at Christie's New York, told Xinhua on Tuesday.

"The tea bowl was served during the tea ceremony: the shape and glossy glaze of the bowl perfectly match the whipped, white tea powder," said Hamilton.

Speaking of the Chinese ceramics market, Hamilton said "the market is always changing. But what is interesting now that we still see a strong demand for Chinese ceramics."

"Market wise, ceramics from a specific period might appeal to a certain group of collectors. At the end of the day, artwork speaks for itself like this bowl," she said.

A Ding Bowl with fine near-white body and an ivory-colored glaze was sold for 2.2 million dollars at an auction at Sotheby's in March 2013. The rare Chinese bowl was bought for about 3 dollars from a yard sale in 2007 by a New York family who had it displayed in the living room. 

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