An 18th century Chinese vase that was discovered by chance in a shoebox in the attic of a French family home has sold for 16.2 million euros, which equates to AU$25.3 million.
The porcelain piece sold for more than 20 times its estimate of 500,000 – 700,000 euros after a 20-minute bidding battle at Sotheby’s in Paris on Tuesday.
The auction house has confirmed that it’s the highest price ever reached for an item sold by Sotheby’s in France.
Left to the grandparents of the present owners by an uncle, the vase was found in perfect condition among several other Chinese and Japanese objects in the family’s apartment.
“This person [the seller] took the train, then the metro and walked on foot through the doors of Sotheby’s and into my office with the vase in a shoebox protected by newspaper,” Sotheby’s Asian arts expert Olivier Valmier said.
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“When she put the box on my desk and we opened it we were all stunned by the beauty of the piece.”
Another Sotheby’s spokesperson said the seller “knew it had some value but nothing like that, nor that it was from the Qian dynasty,” CNBC reports.
Sotheby’s says the vase, known as the ‘Yangcai’ Famille-Rose, is of “exceptional rarity.”
Made for the Qianlong Emperor, who ruled China from 1736 to 1795, it depicts a “magnificent landscape” of deer, birds and pine trees in-between a colorful decorative border.
Famille-Rose porcelains from this period were never made in large quantities and are mostly housed in museums around the world. The only other vase of this shape and style is now kept in Musée Guimet’s collection in Paris.
Sotheby’s has not disclosed the buyer’s name or nationality.
From Yahoo Lifestyle/ House Beautiful