A large jade water buffalo carved in China during the 17th or 18th century is to star in a single lot auction at Bonhams Hong Kong on November 27.
The exceptional lot, which stands at 12½ inches, is valued at $1.5m-1.9m.
It's one of a number of similar buffalos showcased in museums across Britain, including the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and the British Museum.
Most, including the present lot, appear to have been looted from the Summer Palace in Beijing by British forces during the second opium war of 1860.
The water buffalo has been used in agriculture in China for thousands of years and is highly symbolic, representing strength, hard work and dedication.
Bonhams comment: "The important jade water buffalo from the renowned collections of Lt.Col. M.A. Johnson, Somerset de Chair and Jorge de Brito, is a remarkable feat of Chinese jade carving, achieving the astonishing combination of grace, strength, gentleness, majesty, naturalness and timelessness.
"It is extremely rare to find animals of such striking size, and although widely published and much admired, exceptionally large jade animals such as the present lot in fact form a very select and unusual group within the tradition of Chinese jade carving."
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