Rare Qianlong Dynasty Vase Sells for $9 Million


Rare Chinese Vase Found in Pet-Filled Home Sells for $9 Million

by Claire Bugos/Smithsonianmag.com

Porcelain vases and roaming pets can be a precarious combination. Luckily, a rare Chinese vase stored for decades in the open cupboard of a central European house inhabited by multiple cats and dogs remains intact—and more valuable than ever.

Last month, the vase, which dates to the Qianlong dynasty (1735–1799), sold in a Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction for just over $9 million.

Per the auction house’s listing, “[T]his masterpiece ranks amongst the most complex and exquisite porcelains from the Qianlong period ever to have emerged on the market.”

The vase’s exterior features an intricate, celadon-green lattice. Its Western-style enamel and Rococo-style flowers were crafted in yangcai, meaning its “foreign colors” were inspired by contact with Europe. A second vase—painted to depict nine peaches in the traditional blue-and-white style—is visible through the holes in the outer vessel’s decorative screen.

Nicolas Chow, chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, tells Atlas Obscura’s Karen Chernick that these kinds of interlaced vases were only made during the seventh and eighth years of the Qianlong Emperor’s reign.

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