‘Ordinary’ Chinese vase shocks the world and sells for $8.8 million at auction
A blue and white Chinese vase estimated to be worth less than $2,000 shook the antiques landscape when it sold for $8.8 million in a heated bidding war at a French auction this weekend.
The vase, with its spherical body and long cylindrical neck, stands 21 inches tall and is decorated with dragons and clouds, according to the listing by Osenat, an auction house near Paris that handled the sale. An appraiser said the vase was from the 20th century and not very special. Bidders thought otherwise, believing it to be a rare example of an 18th-century Tianqiuping vase.
Jean-Pierre Osenat, president of the auction house, told CNN that the owner of the vase, who lives abroad, had asked the auctioneer to sell it as part of a lot of objects from their late grandmother’s home in Brittany, in the northwest of France.
“It will completely change their lives,” Osenat said. “It’s hard for them to reconcile.”
The grandmother was an art collector and had owned the vase for 30 years. Despite an expert’s opinion that the Tianqiuping Vase was quite common, Mr Osenat said there were early signs of interest in the vase when dozens of people came to examine it during a a pre-auction exhibition.
About 300 to 400 people have expressed interest in bidding, Osenat said. The house eventually limited the number of bidders to 30, all of whom paid a deposit to participate.
“I have confidence in the hammer,” Osenat said. “One expert’s point of view cannot trump that of 300 people.”
Tianqiuping vases are also known as “heavenly sphere” vases due to their shape. The unidentified buyer is Chinese, Osenat said. In recent years, Chinese buyers at auction have actively sought historical artifacts from their country in the past.
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