Sunday, 3 July, 2022
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Rare 18th-century Chinese vase kept in kitchen sells for $1.8 million at auction

Arare Chinese vase dating from the 18th century has sold for nearly £1.5 million ($1.8 million) at auction.

The gilded blue artifact was initially valued at £150,000 ($186,000), according to Dreweatts, the English auction house that handled the sale.

The seller inherited the vase from his father, a surgeon, who bought it in the 1980s for a few hundred pounds, Dreweatts said in a statement. The seller was unaware of its value, and so kept it in the kitchen, where it was spotted by an expert.

Measuring two feet in height, the porcelain vase is embellished with a six-character seal mark characteristic of the Qianlong era (1736-1795) along its base, the auction house said.

It was made for the court of the Qianlong Emperor -- the sixth emperor of the Qing dynasty -- and would have been crafted using innovative heating techniques to achieve its blue, gold and silver coloring, Dreweatts added.

The vase would need to have been fired at a temperature of nearly 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit (about 1,200 celsius) to achieve the cobalt blue shade, while the interior turquoise tint and the exterior gold and silver colors would have been created in a kiln suited for enamels, the auction house said.

The Chinese name for this kind of vase is "tianqiuping," which translates to "heavenly globe vase" and describes its spherical shape. Dreweatts said there have not been any other tianqiuping vases documented with the same designs in gold and silver, making it extremely rare.

Mark Newstead, a specialist consultant for Asian ceramics and artworks at Dreweatts, said in the statement that bidding interest came from China, Hong Kong, the US and the UK.

"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," he added.

A number of other rare artifacts recovered from obscurity have earned high sale prices recently.

In March last year, a 15th-century blue-and-white Chinese bowl bought at a yard sale for $35 sold for $721,800 at auction.

A few months later, a 16th-century Italian dish discovered in a drawer fetched more than $1.7 million at auction -- 10 times its original estimate.