16-01-21-2225NE03A Yaozhou Kundika.jpg
The Northern Song dynasty ‘Yaozhou Kundika’ or holy water bottle, from the 11th-12th century which is estimated at HK$500,000-700,000 at Sotheby’s April auction series in Hong Kong.

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The collection is expected to realise in excess of £20m (HK$225m) when it is auctioned on April 6.

Described by the auctioneers as "one of the greatest collections of Chinese porcelain left in private hands",

Eton-educated Pilkington (1928-69), who briefly worked for the family glassmaking firm in Lancashire, was one of a second generation of British Chinese porcelain enthusiasts.

They built their collections after the Second World War when some of the best pre-war assemblages formed by the first generation were being dispersed. The provenances on many of the works acquired within a single decade from the late 1950s are indicative of this 'golden period' for collecting.

Ming Porcelain

The Pilkington 'time capsule' group features many examples of pieces that are prime Chinese collecting taste

and perfect material for the Hong Kong market and for enthusiasts worldwide. The highlight is a group of 15th century Ming porcelains, including a Chenghua Palace bowl guided at HK$50-70m.

Another earlier rarity is the Northern Song dynasty Yaozhou Kundika or holy water bottle, pictured here, from the 11th-12th century.

It has the bonus of having featured in the celebrated 1935 exhibition at the Royal Academy. It carries an estimate of HK$500,000-700,000.