A man’s $35 bowl turned out to be an exceptionally rare 15th-century Chinese antique possibly worth half a million dollars.
Purchased at a yard sale in Connecticut, the small floral bowl was recently identified as an artifact from the Ming dynasty, originally commissioned by China’s imperial court, reports CNN.
The white porcelain bowl is adorned with blue designs of lotus, peony, chrysanthemum and pomegranate blossoms. It will be put on auction at Sotheby’s auction house in New York on March 17 as part of its “Asia Week,” where it is expected to fetch up to $500,000.
The identity of the man who stumbled upon the bowl near New Haven last year has not been disclosed. Immediately after making the purchase, he reportedly sent photographs of the bowl to auction specialists, who identified its value and historical significance.
Experts have identified the artifact as a “lotus bowl” as it closely resembles a lotus bud. The bowl, valued between $300,000 and $500,000, purportedly originated from the court of the Yongle Emperor, who ruled from 1403 to 1424. The period is known for its unique porcelain techniques.
Angela McAteer, head of Sotheby’s Chinese art department, shared that the man “didn’t haggle over the $35 asking price.”
“We instinctively had a very, very good feeling about it,” she added.
McAteer said that such a make “was never replicated in future reigns or dynasties” and that it “had all the hallmarks that one would expect of these great commissions of the Yongle period.”
Sotheby’s noted that only six other similar bowls are known to have survived from the period. Some of them are in the care of the National Palace Museum in Taipei, the British Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Featured Image via Sotheby’s