USPA NEWS – An 18th-century Chinese vase forgotten for decades in a shoe box in a French attic sold for â‚¬16.2 million at Sothebyâ€™s in Paris on Tuesday â€” more than 30 times the estimate.
Experts at the auction house said the exquisite porcelain vessel was made for the Qing dynasty Emperor Qianlong and had set a guide price of a much more modest â‚¬500,000.
â€œThis is a major work of art, it is as if we had just discovered a Caravaggio,â€� Olivier Valmier, the Asian arts expert at the auction house, told reporters before the sale.
The vase, which was in perfect condition, â€œis the only known example in the world bearing such detail,â€� he added.
Rare porcelain from the Qianlong period has been going for astronomical prices recently, with a bowl sold last April by Sothebyâ€™s in Hong Kong for $30.4 million.
The vase â€” which is decorated with images of deer and cranes â€” 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 has lain unloved in a shoe box in the attic for decades.
â€œWe didnâ€™t like the vase too much, and my grandparents didnâ€™t like it either,â€� said the owner of the piece, who only got in touch with Sothebyâ€™s in March.
It was still in the shoe box when it was presented to Sothebyâ€™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.
â€œSuch elaborate and challenging designs are exceedingly rare on Qing imperial porcelain,â€� Sothebyâ€™s said on its website.
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Keywords: Zayad Alshaikhli
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