A French family found a porcelain vase, intricately decorated with animals, trees and embellishments, in an old shoebox in their attic. The vase had been willed to the grandparents of its owners by an uncle. Their inheritance also included several other works of Chinese porcelain and some Japanese artworks including an “unusual bronze mirror.”
Recognizing that they may have found something unique, they caught the train, then the metro and, finally. walked on foot with the vase and mirror to Sotheby’s Paris.
Sothebys identified the vase as Yangcai Famille Rose porcelain from the Qing dynasty (1636 to 1912). It has a mark from the reign of the Qianlong Emperor, who ruled China from 1736 to 1795. They said that it could be worth more than €500,000 ($au800,000).
The vase sold at auction for €16.2 million euros ($au25.1 million) – the highest price reached for a single item sold by Sotheby’s in France.