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Blue ground and gilt Qing vase, later converted to a lamp, which sold for $156,000 with buyer’s premium against an estimate of $200-$300 at Andrew Jones.

Qing vase made into a lamp commands $156K against $200-$300 estimate at Andrew Jones

LOS ANGELES – A Qing vase later converted to a lamp sailed beyond expectations at an Andrew Jones DTLA Collections & Estates auction. The highlight of the May 15 sale was a trompe l’oeil-style blue ground and gilt vase with a Qianlong (1735-1796) seal mark that was estimated at $200-$300 but hammered for $120,000 and sold for $156,000 with buyer’s premium. Full results for the sale can be seen at LiveAuctioneers.

Vases such as this, decorated with knotted cloths, form a rare but known group that was cherished by the Qianlong emperor himself. The playful form was borrowed from the Japanese packaging tradition known as furoshiki – Japanese lacquers gave the illusion of an object wrapped in cloth. In Chinese, there was the added benefit of wordplay, as the term baofu (wrapping cloth) also means ‘wrapping up good luck.’

The idea was replicated at the Palace Workshops in various media, including painted enamel, cloisonné, glass, wood, and lacquer. This 12in vase with a powder blue and gilt ground assumes an archaic form, beribboned in a pink sash tied at the center. The price for the piece was remarkable, because although the vase had not been drilled, it had extensive restoration to the neck and rim that was visible both to the naked eye and under UV light.