The Yongle period (1403-1424) vase was brought to Denmark by Tage Wøldike Schmidt (1915-2010), an executive at the East Asiatic Company. In 1946 he was appointed branch manager for EAC in Tientsin in China before becoming the firm’s managing director in 1964.
The vase had remained in the Schmidt collection following his death six years ago.
Measuring 11.5in (29cm) high, it was decorated in underglaze blue with various fruits such as peach, pomegranate, crab apple, lychee, loquat and cherry. The foot was painted with a band of upright overlapping palm leaves.
A combination of the 14th century date, fine decoration, good provenance and attractive Dkr 300,000-500,000 estimate helped bring multiple bidders on the phone, online and in the room on November 30.
After an intense battle, auctioneer Jesper Bruun Rasmussen finally knocked down his gavel to a Chinese collector. The sum was the highest in the firm’s 68-year history.