2,000-year-old Chinese cauldron found at Yorkshire family home could sell for £10,000

Antiques expert Charles Hanson with the ding. (Photo: Mark Laban / Hansons  / SWNS)
Antiques expert Charles Hanson with the ding. (Photo: Mark Laban / Hansons / SWNS)

The ancient pot - known as ding - was found by antiques expert Charles Hanson during a routine home visit in Yorkshire.

The Bargain Hunt and Antiques Road Trip star said he was left stunned by the historical discovery dating back to the Han dynasty, which began in 202 BC.

The relic, believed to be from China's Shaanxi Province, could have been used for ritual offerings and sacrifices during ceremonial events two millennia ago.

The 28cm high bronze vessel is expected to fetch £10,000 when it goes under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers, in Etwall, Derbys., on November 30.

Charles said: "A ding is essentially a basic ritual food vessel or cooking pot from China. "These cauldrons were used for cooking, storage and ritual offerings to the gods or to ancestors.

"In ancient times they were part of ceremonial events and even used as a vessel for the purposes of sacrifices.

"They sometimes contained animal parts and blood and were placed into tombs to venerate ancestors. The ding was a status symbol.

"The wealthier and more powerful you were the more dings you had. Emperors of China were apparently buried with nine dings. "However, even if you were buried with only one or two it was seen as a sign of power and authority. "Dings were expensive items made in bronze and considered masterpieces of their time. The decoration is derived from ancient times.

"Early examples displayed taotie masks, which were almost like a stylised dragon. Such motifs were thought to protect against evil spirits getting into the vessels. "The ding we have uncovered is complex and in remarkable condition given the fact it's around 2,000 years old. "It sweeps us back to ancient times which featured the Shang Dynasty of the second millennium BC, the Zhou Dynasty, the Qin and then the Han Dynasty, the time period this item came from.

"The imperial Han dynasty existed in 202 BC-9 AD and 25-220 AD.

"It's exciting to handle such an ancient and important Chinese antique. It's been guided at £4,000 to £6,000 but it could reach £10,000 under the hammer.

"I am expecting strong interest from wealthy collectors in the Far East and America. It was bought by our client's family from a well-respected collector many years ago."