Home / Funny / Viral / 35 Dollar Yard Sale Bowl Turns Out To Be Dynasty Artefact Worth Half a Million Dollars


Have you ever bought that one item from a yard sale which was completely underpriced for the value it brought?

In 2019, a routine yard sale in New Haven yielded the deal of a lifetime for an anonymous man from Connecticut. For a mere $35, the man bought a small blue and white porcelain bowl adorned with floral motifs. After examining it more closely, he thought his purchase might be an antique. It turns out that the bowl he had bought was a porcelain Ming dynasty bowl from the early 15th century Yongle period. The rare bowl, which Sotheby's assisted in identifying and will put up for auction starting on March 17, 2021, is expected to fetch between $300,000 and $500,000.

The porcelain bowl might seem like a fairly modern product to the untrained eye. However, experts were able to identify the Yongle Emperor's reign as the creator of the work by analysing the porcelain's quality, glaze, and floral motifs. The Chinese Imperial porcelain production peaks during this period, which spans from 1403 to 1424.

This little bowl, which has a diameter of roughly six inches, was probably created for use in the royal courts of the Ming dynasty. The vivid blue designs were produced during a phase of rigorous quality control experimentation with cobalt techniques. Because of this, the little "lotus bowl," so called because of its shape, is a nearly unique example of craftsmanship.

The bowl's floral patterns are reminiscent of images from the Islamic Middle East. Blossoms of pomegranate, peony, chrysanthemum, and lotus surround the vessel in cobalt. Yongle period porcelain was traded all over the world, ending up in East Africa and the Middle East. However, experts at Sotheby's say that finding a piece this small outside of China would have been unusual because most pieces this size were shipped overseas. Chinese porcelain was a rare luxury in Europe even with the extensive trade routes. It is believed that the first piece arrived in the fourteenth century. The ability for European manufacturers to produce their porcelain vessels would not come until the 18th century. 

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