A Chinese altar vase, which had been used for ceremonial purposes in temples and palaces, has recently been sold at auction for 150 times more than the original estimate.
Lawrences of Crewkerne estimated the rare antique to be worth between £1,200 and £1,500. The vase was sent to auction by its previous owner, whose ancestor had worked as a solicitor in Shanghai at the start of the 20th century. The vase had been brought to the UK in the 1930s and had spent around 30 years adorning the mantelpiece of the vendor.
The vase is 26cm high and is decorated with famille rose enamels, along with the Bajixiang, the Eight Buddhist Emblems. This type of vase was used during the Qianlong Emperor’s reign, but this particular vase has the seal of the successor, a red seal with six characters, of Qing emperor Jaiqing.
The auctioneers cautiously catalogued the vase as being of the “Republican period”, as not all vessels like this are from the period. The general opinion of bidders was that the vase was from the Republican period, which created a fierce bidders war for the rare antique.
The bidding finally ended up between a London dealer and a Hong Kong dealership. The latter eventually secured the vase for £252,000, with a buyer’s premium of 22%. The new owner may decide to display the Chinese vase on an antique cupboard, to enhance a room which is already furnished in a complementary style.
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