Over-the-moon price for Qianlong flask

Central Station | 12 Jun 2018

A rare porcelain moon flask that once belonged to 18th century Chinese Emperor Qianlong has sold for 4.1 million euros (HK$37.9 million) after a bidding war at an auction in France.

The blue, white and celadon flask - more than 200 years old - was acquired by a French woman who outbid 17 Chinese buyers during a sale lasting about 10 minutes, said auctioneer Philippe Rouillac, describing the buy as "historic and legendary."

Including fees, the final sale totaled more than five million euros - 10 times the opening price of 500,000 euros.

The round-shaped flask has eight Buddhist symbols in stylized lotus petals, and bears the seal of the emperor who ruled from 1735 to 1796.

The buyer is expected to keep the flask at her Paris apartment, but it could potentially be loaned to a museum in future, Rouillac said.

Far East art specialist Alice Jossaume said the flask is one of two from Emperor Qianlong that still exist. The other fetched 1.8 million euros at Sotheby's in Hong Kong in 2016.

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