Dessa Goddard, vice president and director of Asian works of art at Bonhams and Butterfields, has been with the auction house for nearly 30 years. She spoke with The Examiner recently about the Dec. 14 sale of a 14-inch-high blue and white porcelain Dragon jar that brought $7.6 million at auction.
What was special about this jar? It was highly unusual, according to key bidders. They felt confident that it was what we call an imperial piece made for the Emperor Qianlong. It has a classic shape and dragon decorations. The dragon has five claws, which indicates imperial origins, made for the imperial court.
Is that a record? It is certainly a record for a Chinese porcelain sold at Bonhams & Butterfields, and Monday’s auction was the largest auction of Asian art in San Francisco history. It brought in more than $19 million.
Who pays those prices? It’s really representative of what’s happening in the Chinese art market as a whole over the last two to five years, where groups of international Chinese buyers are traveling around the United States and Europe looking for fresh products to the market, anything they want to market to their own clients on the mainland.