Rare 18th-Century Chinese Vase Kept In Kitchen For Decades Sells For $1.8 Million At Auction

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A peach vase is shown at Sotheby's preview in Hong Kong
A peach vase is shown at Sotheby's preview in Hong Kong

A rare eighteenth-century vase that was created for a Chinese emperor sold for $1.8 million on Wednesday at the Dreweatts auction.

The vase, which the seller inherited from his surgeon father in the 1980s was kept in his kitchen as a decoration ever since.  The seller was unaware of the value due to it being originally purchased for only a few hundred dollars. An expert eventually went on to spot it as a historic treasure that is recognized for its intricacy and symbolism of craftsmanship from hundreds of years ago, CNN reports. 

“The vase is remarkable for its highly unusual enameling techniques with a striking and exceptionally rare palette of gold and silver against a vivid blue ground,” Dreweatts explained in a description of the vase.

“The rich cobalt blue seen on the current vase is sometimes referred to as 'sacrificial blue'. This name derives from the use of vessels bearing this color glaze during sacrifices at the Imperial Altar of Heaven. It is extremely unusual to see blue vases painted in both gilding and slightly raised silver,” Dreweatts added.

The vase also exceeded its selling expectations, after it was originally estimated to only sell for anywhere between $125,000 and $185,000.  

It was explained that the technique to create this vase was very complex, yet it was important to the people at the time to perfect the emperor’s preferences.

To create the vase, it needed at least three firings in the kiln for the three different glazes and enamels for each color incorporated.

“This vase is a testament to the creativity of craftsmen working during the Qianlong period in exploring and perfecting enameling techniques to cater to the emperor's taste for the innovative and the exotic while remaining rooted in antiquity,” Dreweatts said.

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