Chinese vase found in attic sells for 16.2 million euros

Source:AFP Published: 2018/6/13 16:28:39

Forgotten Chinese vase hit at auction

An 18th-century Imperial Qianlong porcelain vase on display at Sotheby's in Paris on May 22 Photo: VCG

An 18th-century Chinese vase forgotten for decades in a shoe box in a French attic sold for 16.2 million euros ($19 million) at Sotheby's in Paris on Tuesday - more than 30 times the estimate.

Experts at the auction house said the exquisite porcelain vessel was made for the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) Qianlong Emperor and had set a guide price of a much more modest 500,000 euros.

"This is a major work of art, it is as if we had just discovered a Caravaggio," Olivier Valmier, the Asian arts expert at the auction house, told reporters before the sale.

The vase, which was in perfect condition, "is the only known example in the world bearing such detail," he added.

Rare porcelain from the Qianlong period has been going for astronomical prices recently.

A bowl made for Qianlong's grandfather sold in April by Sotheby's in Hong Kong went for $30.4 million dollars.

The vase was found by chance among dozens of other pieces of Chinoiserie in the attic of a house in France earlier this year.

The family had acquired it at the end of the 19th century but it lay  unloved in a shoe box in the attic for decades.

"We didn't like the vase too much, and my grandparents didn't like it either," said the owner of the piece, who only got in touch with Sotheby's in March.

It was still in the shoe box when it was presented to Sotheby's experts for authentication.

The staggering price paid by a young Chinese collector, who was at the auction himself, is the highest ever recorded by the auction house in Paris.

The man, who was wearing a jogging top, beat off bids from other Chinese collectors, mostly over the phone.

The collector, who has not been named, also did the bidding himself - a rarity at this level of auction.

Experts believe that the vase was bought in France because it was found with a Japanese parfume burner which still had its receipt from the Exposition Universelle world fair in Paris in 1867.

Qing masterpieces show much Western influence with their makers having taken on methods and colors -particularly the pinks - learned from the Dutch and from Jesuit missionaries.

An imperial stamp used by Qianlong set a new world record when in was sold for 21 millions euros in Paris in 2016.
Newspaper headline: Forgotten Chinese vase hit at auction


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