Chinese vase which spent years in attic stuns auctioneers as it sells for �14MILLION

Chinese vase which spent years in attic stuns auctioneers as it sells for �14MILLION

By Adrian Hearn

The rare piece was originally expected to sell for as little as �430,000 but a fierce bidding war saw the price rocket

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A rare imperial Chinese vase which spent years gathering dust in an attic has sold for more than £14million after a fierce bidding war.

The piece, left to the seller’s grandparents by an uncle in 1947, was carried into Sotheby’s in Paris inside a shoebox.

Specialist Olivier Valmier recognised it as a Yangcai Famille-Rose bearing a mark from the reign of the Qianlong Emperor. The porcelain piece, from the mid to late 18th century, is the only known example of its kind and was made by the Jingdezhen workshops for the ruler’s courts.

The vase’s body is encircled by a landscape with deer, cranes and pine trees – all auspicious symbols of health and longevity in China.

Yangcai porcelains of the period are rarely sold publicly and most examples are in the National Palace Museum in Taipei and other museums around the world.
The vase had a guide price of £430,000 to £610,000 but bidding quickly hit £4.4million today. When it reached £10.6million, increments slowed from £440,000 to £88,000 and the hammer fell on £14.2million.

Henry Howard-Sneyd, Sotheby’s chairman of Asian Art, Europe and Americas, said: “Chinese art has been admired and collected across Europe for centuries but the importance of certain pieces is occasionally lost over time.

Given the huge appetite for Chinese art among today’s collectors, now is the moment to scour your homes and to come to us with anything you might find.”

Earlier this year, a Yangcai bowl sold at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong for £21.7million.

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