Manufactured at the Beijing Palace workshops in around 1770, it was the standout lot in a £3m sale of superb snuff boxes from the renowned Bloch Collection.
The auction is further evidence that Chinese art is returning to its homeland at an ever increasing rate, as the world's second largest economy creates growing numbers of high end individuals looking to make alternative investments.
Colin Sheaf, chairman of Bonhams Asia, commented: "Nothing can more clearly demonstrate the strength of the global auction market for Chinese art, and the hungry demand from an unprecedentedly wide ranging circle of active buyers."
Hurun Research Institute's recent wealth report claims that one in 1,400 Chinese is now a millionaire, defining the title by those with more than 10 million yuan, or $1.52m.
Of those 960,000 millionaires, 60,000 are said to be "'super rich", with more than 100 million yuan at their disposal.
Earlier this year a triptych by Zhang Xiaogang sold for $10.1m at a Sotheby's Hong Kong sale, while just this week, an artwork by Qi Baishi made $65.5m at China Guardian, a record for a contemporary Chinese painting.