The salvage operation is continuing in the South China Sea, where the sunken ship Nan'ao One has yielded more finds during excavation. Even though the pieces have lost some of their luster from years buried under sea bed, these fine works have a bright future in the world's auction houses.
In the 2007 China Guardian Spring Auction, this fine piece dating back to the reign of Qing Emperor Yong Zheng was on display. It ended up selling for more than 70 million yuan. Even now, these kinds of works continue to soar in value.
Li Yizhou, Beijing Poly Intl Auction Co., LTD, said, "It is mainly targeted at the export market. More specifically to the Europe and American markets. Most of the artifacts are chosen to meet the preference of the region we are selling to. And some are chosen for the purposes of China- Western art research communication."
Charting the exact locations where this ancient porcelain was salvaged has been a great benefit to archaeologists. Using this data, they have managed to prove the existence of the "Marine Silk Road' as well as "The Porcelain Road".
Li Yizhou said, "Due to the massive production in the ancient times, it required a high level of productivity and a high standard of quality from craftsmen. Later the porcelain began to form a particular style. Comparing the porcelain salvaged from sea with those found on land, each helps us gain a better understanding of the other.
Yang Shilin, artist, said, "When kilns became widespread, ordinary people gained enormous creative freedom. Because of this development, we can see the the genius of the craftsmen. These works came to influence the upper classes. In fact, most of artistic sensibilities of the upper class comes from local artists. Judging from the decorations, official produce is of much poorer quality than those from civilian kilns. Whereas on the painting side, the official produce is higher grade than the civilian ones. Overall, I would say it is a draw between them in my opinion."
Judging from the string of record sales at auction in recent years, ancient porcelain produced during the reign of Emperor Yong Zheng and Qian Long in the Qing Dynasty are in high demand. With collectors as excited as ever about the pieces, they are sure to continue to sell like hot cakes for the foreseeable future.