Rare Chinese vase found in English kitchen sells for £1.5 million at auction
The Chinese imperial vase, bought for a few hundred pounds in the 80s, sets a house record for Dreweatts
Despite initial estimates of £100,000 to £150,000, this rare vase sold for a staggering £1,449,000 at Dreweatts Auctioneers on May 18th.
‘We are delighted with this exceptional result!’ says Mark Newstead, Specialist Consultant for Asian Ceramics and Works of Art at Dreweatts.
‘We saw widespread interest from China, Hong Kong, America and the UK, which resulted in very competitive bidding. The result shows the high demand for the finest porcelain produced in the world. A fabulous result and we are privileged to have sold this at Dreweatts.’
Since its sale, Dreweatts have confirmed that the vase, measuring two feet tall, dates to the 18th-century and was originally made for the court of the Qianlong Emperor.
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The distinctive gold, silver and blue enamelling is what makes the vase so significant – it’s a rarity to see this colour of glaze paired with both gildings due to the difficulty of the craft.
The makers mark on the vase’s base also helped give insight to its past, signifying its Qianlong period dating from 1736 to 1795.
The particular shape of this vase is known as ‘Tianqiuping’ in Chinese, which translates as ‘heavenly globe vase’. This is significant as it alludes to Chinese iconography, where heaven is represented in the shape of a sphere.
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The silver crane details, an emblem associated with Daoism for which the Qianlong Emperor was a follower, represent longevity, alongside the flying cranes and bat which also allude to longevity as well as prosperity.
Before it’s staggering sale, the owner was oblivious to its value and had kept it in the kitchen of his English home after inheriting it from his father.
It was only when an antiques specialist visited the property and spotted the rare piece that the history and value of the vase was revealed, resulting in the expertly crafted antique finding its way to auction.