Couple told vase worth up to £700,000 may only fetch £15,000 due to huge cracks

George Martin
·2-min read

Watch: Couple’s ancient vase has value slashed because of large cracks

A couple have been told their 300-year-old Chinese vase would have been worth £700,000 without its giant cracks.

The Chinese lantern vase was discovered by an expert during a routine house visit in Leicestershire and dates back to the rule of Emperor Qianlong between 1735 and 1799.

Its owners were told that in good condition the artefact would have fetched up to £700,000 at auction, but it has a number of cracks and visible glued repairs that mean it is now worth between £15,000 and £25,000.

It is set to go under the hammer this month, despite being worth 2-3% of what it could have been.

In good condition the large Chinese lantern vase would have fetched £700,000 at auction. (SWNS)
In good condition the large Chinese lantern vase could have fetched £700,000 at auction. (SWNS)

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said the item was still "bursting with Eastern promise".

He said: "It dates back to the period of Emperor Qianlong, circa 1735-99, which makes it a rarity and potentially extremely sought after. It was languishing under a table in a living room.

"I spotted it during a routine house visit I undertook in Leicestershire to assess a range of antiques.

Read more: 'Oldest antique ever seen' goes up for auction

"In good condition its auction estimate would have been in the region of £600,000 to £700,000.”

Featuring contrasting shades of cobalt blue, the vase is decorated with a herd of deer, including a red stag and blue doe, amid a mountainous landscape with pine trees and rocks.

The neck of the vase has parallel bands depicting cranes and clouds, Lingzhi prunus, fruiting peach branches and ruyi head motifs.

Auctioneer Charles Hanson with the vase. (SWNS)
Auctioneer Charles Hanson with the vase. (SWNS)

Hanson added: “The vase was probably manufactured in the imperial kilns under the direction of Tang Ying during the early years of Qianlong’s reign, circa 1740, which would make it nearly 300 years old.

"The landscape is reminiscent of the work of Wang Hui, circa 1632-1717. A similar pair of vases were exhibited at the Minneapolis Museum of Art in America in 2004.

“Though the vase we have found has been broken and glued back together, it is still exceptional thanks to its subtle combination of underglaze blue and copper red pigments.

“The Chinese are extremely proud of their artistic heritage and the advanced skills their ancestors perfected centuries ago.

"Consequently, finds like this often spark strong bidding from the Far East as wealthy collectors like to repatriate items to their homeland.”

The Chinese lantern vase will be sold at Hansons’ Fine Art Auction in Etwall, Derbyshire, on 7 December.

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