Rare antique Chinese charger sells for record £210,000 - The Leamington Observer

Rare antique Chinese charger sells for record £210,000

Leamington Editorial 10th Jan, 2023   0

A RARE antique Chinese lacquer charger has sold for a record £210,540 in auction.

The circular charger measuring 30cm in diameter originates from China and dates from the 14th century. Crafted in red lacquer, often known as Cinnabar, the charger depicts exotic birds swooping in flight amongst an extensive array of petals and foliage in high relief.

Lacquer is the resin or sap of a particular family of trees found in southern China. It hardens when exposed to oxygen to form an extremely hard wearing natural ‘plastic’. The distinctive red colour is achieved by the use of toxic powdered mercury sulphide as the predominant colourant. Carved lacquer is a distinctive and extremely time-consuming craft which has been used in China for over 3,000 years with thick carved coatings developed in the 12th century.

A luxury product of the master craftsman, the lacquer is built up in many layers typically on a wooden base. Objects such as boxes, trays, vases and even furniture exist in this highly prized technique. In the Yuan Dynasty, the artistic quality of carving was at its peak. Pieces are rarely signed, (as in the case here) so attribution to the known masters of the period, Yang Mao and Zhang Cheng both from Jiaxing is a complex process.




The charger sold at Cotswold auctioneers, Kinghams is comparable to similar examples in prominent museums such as The Met. It was consigned by an anonymous vendor and as such items rarely appear at auction it attracted extensive pre-sale interest from connoisseurs across the globe. On the day of the auction, a frenzied bidding battle ensued whittling down to two determined bidders on the phone battling to secure it. The gavel eventually went down to a UK based specialist for the record total sum of £210,540.

With thousands of valuable treasures still awaiting discovery, find out if you are sitting on a fortune. Kinghams specialist Valuers are on hand to advise clients on Asian ceramics/works of art, jewellery, watches, designer goods, silver, ceramics, glass, paintings, prints, decorative arts, clocks, furniture and more.


Kinghams will be doing free valuations at The Meeting Room, Dorridge Village Hall, Grange Road, Dorridge, Solihull, from 11am to 3pm on February 2.

For more information email [email protected]

* Free valuation days are held in the Cotswolds at Kinghams’ Moreton-in-Marsh auction centre every Tuesday from 11am to 4pm, (with donations in aid of Cotswold Friends). Nationwide home visits for large/multiple items, estate clearance and downsizing advice are available by appointment. Clients may also email images and details of their items to [email protected] or call 01608 695695.

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