A Xuande "three fish" stemcup sold for $5.6m in a single lot auction at Sotheby's Hong Kong on October 8.
The piece dates to the 15th century and is one of the earliest examples of Chinese porcelain to feature a design in red glaze.
Sotheby's explained its importance prior to the sale: "The radical simplicity of this three-fish and related three-fruit designs is without par in the history of Chinese porcelain decoration and exceptional among Chinese imperial works of art…
"The admirable, jewel-like colour and texture of these silhouettes was achieved only in the Xuande reign and was not matched again even in the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), when these designs were frequently copied, particularly in the Yongzheng (1723-35) and Qianlong (1736-95) eras."
In recent years, large numbers of discarded experiments in red glaze have been discovered at the imperial kiln at Jingdezhen, indicating the complexity of the method.
Only a handful of completed red glaze examples from this era are known to exist, the vast majority of which are held in museums and other permanent collections.
The 15th century was a golden era for porcelain production in China and pieces from this era are highly coveted.
Please sign up to our free newsletter to receive exciting news about art and antiques auctions.