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Rare Ming-era cup sold for $36.5 million at Hong Kong auction

April 08, 2014, 10:52 UTC+3
A fine cup for wine that belonged to Chenghua Emperor (1465-1487) is adorned with a miniature painting featuring a rooster, a hen and chicks on a flowered background
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© EPA/JEROME FAVRE

HONG KONG /XIANGGANG/, April 8. /ITAR-TASS/. A small cup made in the 15th century in the era of Ming dynasty has fetched a record-high sum for porcelain and Chinese art at an auction in Hong Kong on Tuesday. Sotheby's auction house representatives told ITAR-TASS that the item has been sold for $36.5 million. The name of the purchaser was not disclosed.

A fine cup for wine that belonged to Chenghua Emperor (1465-1487) is adorned with a miniature painting featuring a rooster, a hen and chicks on a flowered background. Only 14 cups of this kind were preserved until today, and three of them are parts of private collections. The rest are being kept in museums of Taipei, London and other cities.

Experts say the elegant cups of the Chenghua Emperor era were highly valued by subsequent emperors of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). There are plenty of legends linked to these cups; they were objects of admiration, collectibles and were often copied. It is no wonder that one can find hundreds of imitations of these cups on Chinese antique markets.

However, 500-year-old originals are hard to find. It is noteworthy that the item from a private European collection put up for sale was sold at an auction in 1999. Then, the cup was sold for an unreal for these times price of €3.7 million, becoming the most expensive object made of Chinese porcelain. Thus, its value increased ten times over 15 years.

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