The rare 18th century yangcai porcelain vase serendipitously found nestled inside a shoebox in a quiet French attic has just made waves throughout the auction world.

The vase, which was tipped to sell for an estimated 500,000-700,000 (US$600,000-850,000 or HK$4.8-6.7 million), just broke records at auction for any Chinese porcelain sold in France – and it was at a cool 16.2 million (US$19 million, HK$149.5 million).

Imperial vase found in French attic breaks records

The spring sale of Asian Art at Sotheby’s France was held in a packed room with 20 phone lines calling in from around the world, sparking an intense 20-minute bidding war.

The exact provenance of the Yangcai Famille-Rose porcelain vase is still unknown, as its history cannot be traced further back than 1947.

It is, however, of exceptional quality featuring unique traits: a colour palette with Western-style compositions, and an unusual landscape filled with deer, cranes and pine trees – all of which are symbols of health and longevity.

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