Chinese vase found in French family's attic fetches record-breaking £14m at auction

Sean Morrison
The treasure, which was found in a family home in France, sparked a 25-minute bidding war at Sotheby's: AFP/Getty Images

A 18th Century Chinese vase that was discovered by chance in and attic in France has fetched a record-breaking 16.2m euros (£14.2m) at auction.

The Imperial China treasure, found in a family home, sparked a 25-minute bidding war at Sotheby’s and sold for more than 20 times the estimated guide price.

The exact history of the vase, which was taken to Tuesday’s auction in Paris in a shoebox, has not been traced before 1947.

The vase achieved an auction record for any Chinese porcelain sold at auction in France after it went under the hammer.

Henry Howard-Sneyd, Sotheby's chairman of Asian Art, Europe and Americas, said: "Chinese art has been admired and collected across Europe for centuries, but the importance of certain pieces is occasionally lost over time.

"Given the huge appetite for Chinese art among today's collectors, now is the moment to scour your homes and attics, and to come to us with anything you might find."

The vase features a landscape with deer, cranes and pine trees, all symbols of health and longevity.

The Imperial 18th century Yangcai Famille-Rose porcelain object, which features a mark from the reign of the Qianlong Emperor, was left to the grandparents of the present owners by an uncle.

The vase, produced for the courts of the Qianlong Emperor (1735-1796), is of exceptional rarity and the only known example of its kind.