A circa 1,600 BC Shang dynasty wine vessel is being tipped to provide the top lot at a forthcoming auction of Asian artefacts.
The bronze item is expected to sell for up to $5,000 when it auctions in Scotts Valley, California on November 11. Similar pieces have sold for up to $4,750 in the past.
It forms part of the auction of the George Ow collection, who died in 2004 following a lifetime of collecting Chinese, Japanese and Korean works.
Also featuring from the China-born American's collection will be a stunning range of Qing dynasty (1644-1912) porcelain.
Auctioneer Bob Slawinski told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that he expects most of Ow's collection "will be sold to people in China who want a piece of the country's troubled past.
"The Chinese don't want Picassos or Rembrandts," he added.
"What they want is their own heritage."
It is this factor that has transformed the landscape of the world's art and antiques sector in recent years.
A 2011 European Fine Art Foundation report revealed that China had overtaken the US as the world's largest art market, boosted by its growing economy, which continues to produce increasing numbers of wealthy individuals keen to repatriate China's overseas works.
The Chinese art and antiques sector grew by 64% in 2011, the report states.
A recent Barclays Wealth Report found that the country's wealthiest individuals have 17% of their money placed in treasure assets, such as art, wine, jewellery and stamps, compared with just 9% in the US and 7% in the UK.
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