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Sotheby’s series saw a new auction record for a piece of Chinese blue and white in the form of this Ming dynasty flask which sold for a hammer price of HK$19.5m (£1,585,340) on November 1.

The flask, which measures 181/2in (47cm) high and 161/4in (41cm) in diameter, is decorated with scrolls of blooms and waves set around a central eight-pointed star motif and dates from the Yongle period. Based on a Middle Eastern prototype, it is of great rarity, only two other flasks of this design and a third, slightly smaller variant having been recorded, all of them in Museum collections.

The previous highest price for a piece of Chinese blue and white was HK$15m paid in 1997 at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong for a brushwasher.

Christie’s ceramics sales included a 30-lot auction of Imperial wares from the Robert Chang collection on November 2 which was topped by a Kangxi mark and period famille rose ruby ground lotus bowl at HK$11m (£894,310).

Exchange rate £1 = HK$12.3