Rare Chinese artifacts have always been in demand. An exquisite vase from the region was earlier sold for $9 million by Sotheby’s in 2020. Similarly, another antique urn was auctioned for $1.84 million in July last year.
And in the run for the million this time is a small floral bowl that is set to fetch over half a million. The intricate blue-and-white artifact which was previously bought off a junkyard sale for $35 has now been identified as an exceptionally rare 15th-century Chinese antique.
It featured lotus, peony, chrysanthemum, and pomegranate blossoms and was originally commissioned by China’s imperial court during the Ming dynasty. Last year, it was discovered near New Haven, Connecticut, by an anonymous buyer who later offered it to Sotheby’s for sale.
Commenting on it, Sotheby’s head of Chinese art department, Angela McAteer, said, “(The bowl had an) incredibly smooth porcelain body and a really unctuous silky glaze,” she further added, “it had all the hallmarks that one would expect of these great commissions of the Yongle period.”
Belonging to the Yongle Emperor’s court, which ruled from 1403 to 1424, the bowl is christened as the ‘Lotus Bowl’ owing to its resemblance to a lotus bud. It is estimated to sell for anywhere between $300,000 and $500,000, an asking price that is nearly 14,300 times the amount it was purchased for.
It will be auctioned on March 17 as part of next month’s “Asia Week,” a series of Sotheby’s sales featuring artifacts, antiques, and contemporary art from across the region.