A chipped Chinese fruit bowl that was bought for £3 at country house sales in the 1950s has been sold for £100,000.
The owner of the bowl inherited it from his father and did not think that it was valuable. It was placed on a dresser next to a few inexpensive plates and used to keep fruit in. An expert discovered that the bowl had the Chinese Yongzheng mark from the period 1723-1735. Despite a chip in the rim, it was sold at auction for £100,000. With fees and commission, the buyer paid much more than the £100,000 winning bid amount.
The bowl, which is nearly 300 years old, has a striking reverse decoration and a raised slip detailing. Its design was inspired by Ming and Yuan ceramics. Similar bowls are displayed in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Nezu Museum in Tokyo.
There is a high demand for antique Chinese ceramics, especially amongst Chinese collectors. Many wealthy Chinese people regard pieces like the Chinese fruit bowl as part of their heritage and history and want to repatriate them back to China. As the £100,000 price paid for the bowl shows, they are prepared to pay huge prices.
It is unlikely that antique Chinese bowls can be found for sale in Lancashire antique shops for a few pounds, but fine examples of antique sofas, antique settees and more can be seen at prices far below those paid for Chinese ceramics.
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