A small bowl bought for 35 dollars in a yard sale in the U.S. turned out to be a rare Chinese ceramic from the Ming Dynasty worth up to half a million dollars.
The blue and white porcelain piece has steep rounded sides that narrow at the bottom, making it look like a lotus bud or chicken heart – quintessential designs from the Ming era. It features floral motifs in rich cobalt blue of lotuses, peonies, chrysanthemums and pomegranate blossoms.
Experts at Sotheby’s called the bowl “rare and exceptional” and said it bears all the hallmarks of imperial porcelain items made during the reign of Zhu Di or the Yongle Emperor, the third ruler of the Ming Dynasty.
The smooth body and silky glaze were also dead giveaways of the piece’s provenance.
The auction house noted, “In every respect, this delicate bowl is a quintessential Yongle product, made for the court, showing the striking combination of superb material and painting.”