Considered to be one of the finest Chinese Export Porcelain collections in the world, the Tibor Collection consists of more than 500 works of art will be sold by Christie’s.

The story of porcelain and its popularity in the west is a fascinating and lengthy one. The process of refining the process took many years to perfect but porcelain, resembling the nearest thing to what we have today, was achieved between 1 200 and 2 000 years ago.

In order for the ceramic product known as porcelain to be achieved, materials such as generally including kaolin, are heated in a furnace to temperatures between 1,200 and 1,400 °C (2,200 and 2,600 °F). This exceptional heat and combinations of elements result in a product that is truly extraordinary in its quality and workability.

Chinese Export Porcelain

This ‘miracle from the east’ first came onto the Western market as early as the 14th century with increasing popularity in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. Soon, thanks to constant and established trading routes the west started to commission pieces resembling more their taste and that of the era than the traditional Eastern influence. This resulted in a fascinating blend of east and west that in some cases left work that would rather be described as odd than beautiful. With most resulting in exceptional works of art.

Although porcelain was by this time more freely available in the west, it was still considered a great luxury. Due to its strength, toughness and translucence, it became the material of choice for the upper class. This gave rise to the “tell” if someone came from an established family or as part of the nouveau riche. Should they add milk before their tea, they were most certainly new money. Milk would generally be added first to prevent the boiling water cracking the cup. If a family had wealth and used porcelain on a daily bases the hot water would be added first as the fear of cracking would not be a concern.

Due to the great cost, the use of porcelain outgrew its functionality and soon became a statement of wealth when such an expensive material would be moulded into something purely for visual pleasure. This rise of popularity and demand soon saw the Chinese Export Porcelain market soar to exceptional hights. The Tibor Collection presented by Christie’s is arguably one of the world’s most important collections in this field.

The sale is named for the stunning, oversized vases, jars and ‘soldier vases’ known in Hispanic America as tibores, of which more than 50 examples are offered, including many pairs.

Commenting on the collection Becky MacGuire, the Senior Specialist of Chinese Export Art at Christie’s commented, “Visiting this magnificent collection was like stepping into the cultivated and elegant world of another century. The very personal vision of the collector, honed by his deep respect for the history of his region, led him to seek out a fantastic variety of charming and high-quality porcelains.”

This truly remarkable Chinese Export Porcelain collection has been single-owned was assembled over many decades by a very distinguished Latin American family. The collection comprises of over 500 works and was on display in the family’s home for their personal pleasure and that of their guests. Although the most important pieces will be sold in one sale, the entire collection will be sold across upcoming seasons in New York, London and Paris. The total Tibor Collection is expected to fetch in excess of US$ 6 million.

Highlights of the Tibor Collection

Highlighting the collection are an amazing array of 30-plus lots of large-scale porcelain jars. First made as storage jars to hold oil or wine, the large-scale porcelain tibores became masterworks of the Chinese enameler – and highly impressive décor for Western palaces and halls. Fine examples include 10 lots of ‘soldier vases’, plus pairs of large jars and covers in armorial, famille rose, famille verte and blue and white.

Porcelains in very high-style European silver forms are well-represented in The Tibor Collection, led by a handsome pair of tureens, covers and stands extravagantly moulded with vegetables after 18th-century French silver (estimate: $100,000-150,000). Armorial porcelain includes top examples made for the Dutch and English markets and a notable group of pieces made for Spain or New Spain (as the Spanish territories in North and Central America were named), including important royal candlesticks (estimate: $40,000-60,000) and soldier vases (estimate: $500,000-700,000) made for Philip V of Spain.

The collection also features an extraordinary and rare group of magnificent bird and animal tureens comprised of goose, fish, rooster, duck, boar’s head and oxhead. A large variety of elegant porcelain cranes are offered, as well as richly enamelled pairs of hawks and pheasants and a kennel-sized group of Chinese porcelain dogs. Estimates range from $5,000-7,000 to $300,000-500,000 for this group.

For more information on the sale or to register click here.

Chinese Export Porcelain
A rare famille noire five-piece garniture Kangxi Period (1662-1722). 15 3/4 in. (40 cm.) high. Estimate: $60,000-80,000.
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