The puce-enamel falangcai bowl carries an estimate of HK$200m (£18.5m). It has a Kangxi (1662-1722) yuzhi four-character mark and is of the period. ‘Yuzhi' marks, which translate as 'made for the Imperial use of...', suggest a close relationship with the Imperial court and it is believed to have been made for the personal use of the Kangxi emperor.
The 5.75in (14.5cm) diameter enamelled bowl once belonged to the collector Henry M Knight and can be traced back to Shanghai in 1930.
Sotheby’s experts have described it as the finest example of its type and the only ever recorded with this specific design. A closely related example, in the National Palace Museum in Taipei, is painted with different flowers with the exact same colour background. It is believed the two were painted and fired side by side at the imperial kilns in Jingdezhen. The bowls are likely to have then been painted in the Imperial Palace workshops in the Forbidden City in Beijing, possibly by Jesuits resident at the court of the Kangxi emperor, and fired a second time.
To achieve a new record for Chinese ceramics, the bowl would have to better the HK$260m (£24.9m) bid for a Ru guanyao brush washer that sold at Sotheby's in October.
The auction of the bowl is part of a series of six sales totalling 300 lots with a total estimate of nearly £68m.
Nicolas Chow, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, said: “The gold-pink falangcai bowl ranks without question among the very finest imperially enamelled porcelains made for the Kangxi emperor. There is extraordinary quality and breadth in our offerings of Chinese art this season.”
Sotheby’s is offering the bowl at its Hong Kong Chinese Works of Art Spring Sale on April 3 at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.