A Bargain Hunter Picked Up This Small Ceramic Bowl for $35 at a Junk Sale. Now, It Could Sell for Up to $500,000 at Sotheby’s
As it turns out, it's an exceedingly rare example of Ming Dynasty porcelain.
A keen-eyed flea market shopper in Connecticut who bought a delicate blue-and-white porcelain bowl for just $35 is now sitting on a fortune, as the small object goes up for sale at Sotheby’s New York next month, where it could fetch up to $500,000.
In a press release, the auction house said the shrewd consignor had an inkling he had something special, and brought it to a specialist at the auction house.
The Mind Dynasty-era bowl, it turns out, dates to the 15th-century Chinese Yongle period and is extremely rare, with only six companion pieces known in existence. And all of those are in the collections of world-famous institutions such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Museum, the National Palace Museum in Taipei, and the National Museum of Iran.
Measuring just over 6 inches across, the bowl was created in a typical shape resembling a rounded lotus bud or chicken heart, tapering to a pointed base atop a short foot.
The work bears a classic “heaped and piled” method of painting, where the deep cobalt blue appears almost violet because it has been applied so heavily. It is decorated with a striking medallion, and accented by quatrefoil motifs and stylized floral patterns resembling blossoms of lotus, peony, chrysanthemum, and pomegranate flowers.
In an essay in the Sotheby’s sales catalogue, Regina Krahl, a specialist in Far Eastern ceramics, writes that it is “in every respect… a quintessential Yongle product, made for the court, showing the striking combination of superb material and painting with a slightly exotic design.”
The item will be auctioned off on March 17 in New York. Its low estimate is $300,000.
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