The Yamanaka reticulated vase
The ‘Yamanaka’ reticulated vase that will be offered at Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

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The so-called Yamanaka reticulated vase takes its name from the firm of Yamanaka & Co, founded by Yamanaka Sadajiro (1865-1936), that sourced objects in China for sale in galleries in London and the US.

The vase was originally included in the 1905 Yamanaka Exhibition in New York and was later acquired by a private Japanese collector in 1924. It has not been offered for sale since.

These 16in (41cm) high double-walled vessels with yang cai enamels were among the most complex pieces of porcelain ever conceived by Tang Ying, the celebrated superintendent of imperial porcelain manufacture at Jingdezhen, for the emperor Qianlong (1736-95).

Carved and painted with roundels of four pairs of fish below rococo-inspired motifs on a yellow graviata ground, an inner blue and white vase can be glimpsed through the openwork lattice. The Yamanaka and Bainbridge vases are identical, save the choice of colouring for the flowers and the fish panels.

The Sotheby's sale will take place on October 3 and the estimate for the Yamanaka vase is HK$50m-70m (£5m-7m).

Chairman of Sotheby’s Asia Nicolas Chow said: “It is a great privilege for us to offer this Qing reticulated vase from the Imperial collection of the Qianlong Emperor this season. Not only is the vase unique and elaborate in design, it is also in pristine condition.

"To think, the distance the singularly fragile vase has travelled, and the tumultuous times it has survived, for it to be standing here in front of us today without so much as a crack or a chip, is truly extraordinary.”

Ruislip Auction

The co-called Bainbridge vase – offered by local auctioneers Peter Bainbridge in Ruislip at the height of the Chinese buying boom on the evening of November 11, 2010 – posted the highest price ever recorded for Chinese art at auction when it was hammer down at £43m.

However, with securing payments from Chinese bidders a widespread problem, the transaction was never completed. A private treaty deal brokered by Bonhams was agreed in 2013 at a price thought to be in the region of between £20m-25m.