Other more pedestrian examples of a textbook form might well have sold at the £4000-6000 estimate. This one, however, offered at the July 10-11 Exeter sale, went to a London dealer trade at £24,500.
China did take the top spot overall, though: an 18½in (46.5cm) diameter Guangxu period (1862-1908) yellow ground charger incised and painted with dragons chasing the flaming pearl, cranes in flight, and blossoms and foliage. It bore the desirable four-character mark: Chu Xie Gong Zhi (Made for the Chuxiu Palace).
The charger did have had a crack to the rim but also a fine provenance, including a loan to the Ashmolean and a 1925 Bluett’s exhibition where it was catalogued as ‘taken from the Imperial Palace, Peking in 1899/1900’ (the time of the Boxer Rebellion).
Sold at Bluett’s for £40 (perhaps £2500 today), at BHL, where it was estimated at £6000-8000, it sold to a UK-based Chinese bidder, possibly an agent, at £29,000.