Not showing for 40 years, this Guan green glazed octagon string pattern bottle of Southern Song Dynasty appears Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong in April, 2015. Starting with 48 million HKD, it is finally collected by the famous collector of Liu Yiqian, founder of Dragon Beauty Art Museum, with a deal of 113.9 million HKD after many times of bidding. The sky-high deal price of this bottle makes Guan kiln porcelains of Southern Song Dynasty become the focus in the collection circle.
The shape of this bottle follows the traditional model, keeping bronze style in the Pre-Qin period. Its bottleneck color is green and pink-blue. Through many times of kiln firing, the flowing-glaze layers form the warm and smooth state. The ceramic body and edges are printed thick glaze, showing softness and rigidity. Owing to proper control of cooling, its wonderful color and natural crackles can be presented, which extremely resembles the carved jade. You can image the occasion of carrying them out kilns at that time.
The earliest Guan porcelains are fired in official kilns of Bianjing (now Kaifeng, Henan) in the period of Daguan and Zhenghe of Northern Song Dynasty. As one of the five famous kilns (Ru, Guan, Ge, Jun and Ding) in Song Dynasty, Guan kiln focuses on firing green porcelains. During of Daguan period, the most popular glaze colors are moon-white, pink-green and green. The ceramic body of Guan kiln is relatively thick. Its glaze color is sky-blue with pink. Its surface is dotted with crackles. As there is no glaze on its bottom, the bottom color becomes iron black after firing. With thin glaze at its bottleneck, it slightly appears ceramic bone.
In 1127 A.D., Zhao Gou, emperor of Song Dynasty went to the south by boat to escape from wars, many craftsmen engaged in Ru and Guan kilns, etc. also migrated there. The northern advanced porcelain technology was taken to the southern kilns, like Xiuneisi, Jiaotanxia and others by the craftsmen. Therefore, Guan porcelains were made in the south. In order to distinguish Guan kilns in the northern Song and Southern Song, people called them Old Guan and New Guan, respectively. As they seldom were left to next generations, Guan kiln porcelains of the Southern Song Dynasty were always deeply sought by collectors. It has been cherished by collectors for over 100 years.
According to industry insiders, at present, most of Guan kiln porcelains are collected in Forbidden City of Beijing, Taipei Palace Museum or overseas museums. As Guan kiln porcelains belong to the museum-level collections, it is rare to see in the market. Nowadays, there exists a few complete porcelains of “Guan porcelain in Song Dynasty”. Therefore, there is no doubt that this porcelain bottle arouses great concerns in collection circle since its appearing in the Hong Kong Sotheby's auction, which naturally makes it having sky-high price.
Looking back to the past, the Guan kiln porcelains of Song dynasty has always kept the highest price in the market. In the early 1989, Hong Kong Sotheby's auction has bade a Guan Wash of Song Dynasty with price of 22 million HKD. This Guan Wash has created the world record for Chinese porcelain auction at that time. In2008, It is also in Hong Kong Sotheby's auction that a Guan pink-green Zhichui bottle was sold 67.52 million HKD. And it's particularly worth mentioning that this Guan pink-green Zhichui bottle can be turely called treasure for its each inch with only 22.5 centimeters long.