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1,000-year-old China Song dynasty bowl sells for record $37.7m

A 1,000-year-old bowl from China’s Song dynasty sold at auction for $37.7m on Tuesday, breaking the record for Chinese porcelain, auction house Sotheby’s said.

The small piece – which dates from 960-1127 – broke the previous record of $36.05 million set in 2014 for a Ming dynasty wine cup which was sold to a Shanghai tycoon.

Bidding started at around $10.2m and the auction lasted for 20 minutes before the winning offer came from a phone bidder.

The bowl – originally designed to wash brushes – is an example of extremely rare Chinese porcelain from the imperial court of the Northern Song dynasty and one of only four pieces in private hands, according to Sotheby’s.

Measuring 13cm in diametre, the dish features a luminous blue glaze.

The sale broke the “world auction record for any Chinese ceramics”, the auction house announced after the bidding.

It exceeded an earlier record made by a tiny white porcelain cup, decorated with a colour painting of a rooster and a hen tending to their chicks, created during the reign of the Chenghua emperor between 1465 and 1487.

The cup sold in 2014 to taxi-driver-turned-financier Liu Yiqian, one of China’s wealthiest people and among a new class of Chinese super-rich scouring the globe for artwork.


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