A Chinese porcelain pumpkin that once belonged to the Chinese emperor Qianlong from the 18th century was auctioned on Saturday for 4.1 million euros.
The cobalt blue and white pumpkin, which represents an imperial dragon with five claws in search of the sacred pearl, went to a Chinese buyer by phone.
The auctioneer Olivier Clair, who found the property while executing a will in a Paris apartment, informed AFP that the fee-based sale was over EUR 4.9 million.
"There was a number, but it remains very rare," he said.
"The pumpkin was intended for Chinese pilgrims. It has gradually become a decorative symbol like a coronation sword. It is an object that the Chinese are interested in because it is their inheritance."
The pumpkin, along with many other items, may have been looted by a Franco-English expeditionary force during the plunder of the Summer Palace in 1860, but Clair said his way to Europe was unclear.
"We do not know how the property arrived in France, we have only known its history for three generations.
"It belonged to an old family of the paper industry who had ties to the political sphere of the 19th century, undoubtedly relatives of Mac Mahon and Napoleon III."
Imperial items from the reign of the Chinese emperor Qianlong (1735-1796) are particularly popular. A pink porcelain bowl of the family was sold at Sotheby & # 39; s in Hong Kong in April 2018 for $ 30.4 million.
In June 2018, a Chinese porcelain vase created for Qianlong at Sotheby & # 39; s in Paris reached 16.2 million euros, and a pumpkin of the same time fetched 5.1 million euros from a sale near Tours.
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