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Consigned as one of 97 additional Chinese and Korean lots from Tokyo's Toguri Museum of Art collection, opinion was divided amongst Sotheby's specialists as to whether its Imperial Jiajing (1522-1566) reign mark was genuine or an imitation and it was left to the market to decide.

In the belief it was a Ming dynasty pedigree and despite a drill hole to its base, a tsunami of Asian dealers contested it to £180,000, when it sold to a Hong Kong dealer.

The wucai jardinière was not the only sleeper snapped up by the Hong Kong trade. Also of note was a blue and white Qianlong mark and period bottle vase painted with a stylised lotus scroll and consigned by an English dealer with a speculative £800-1200 estimate. In good condition and catalogued as Qianlong mark but left undated, the 9in (23cm) vase was contested to an equally strong £60,000 - far exceeding the £30,000 Sotheby's specialist Michaela Coulthard thought it might possibly have fetched if right.