15th century 'chicken cup' to break Chinese art auction record?

A rare 15th century Chinese porcelain "chicken cup" is to headline a sale of rare Chinese ceramics and works of art at Sotheby's Hong Kong on April 8.

The lot is valued at $25.6m-38.5m.

chicken cup Sotheby's
Chicken cups are considered among the finest examples of the Chinese porcelain tradition

The design was initially produced for the Chenghua emperor (1465-1487) and is considered the high water mark of Chinese porcelain production.

This example is from the renowned Meiyintang collection and was previously owned by legendary collector Sakamoto Goro, who is consigning an archaic owl bronze into a dedicated single lot auction on March 18 in New York.

The cup is one of 14 known to exist, three of which are in circulation on the private market.

It set a new world record for a Chinese work of art at auction when it sold for $4m in 1999 - a record now held by a Qing dynasty vase that made $32.4m in 2010.

It is expected to break this record once again when it comes to auction.

Nicolas Chow, deputy chairman of Sotheby's Asia and international head of fine Chinese ceramics and works of art, commented: "It is a great privilege for us to offer this iconic 'chicken cup' again at auction, 15 years after it broke a world record for Chinese art back in 1999.

"Ever since the Ming dynasty when they were produced, Chenghua period 'chicken cups' have been praised and treasured by emperors and connoisseurs alike. Given their extreme rarity, they are by definition the crowning glory of any collection of Chinese porcelain."

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