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Lifting a Glass to 2004

By Thane Peterson

CHINESE ART. Some would say the key art sale of the year was a 1905 Picasso called Boy with a Pipe that went for a cool $104 million at Sotheby's in May, the first painting ever to top $100 million at auction. In the long run, however, the more important sale may have been of a Chinese crab dish in San Francisco -- actually an 18-inch Ming Dynasty dish that sold for a record $5.7 million at a Bonhams & Butterfields auction on Nov. 17.

I predict that prices in the Chinese art market will continue to climb as Chinese collectors gain in wealth and sophistication. By the way, I referred to the Ming piece as a crab dish because the California family that h

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