It attracted multiple bidders prepared to match an estimate of €800,000-1.2m at the Asian art sale held by Auction Art on September 25. The winning bid with premium was €4.4m.
The scene to the body is the Eight Daoist Immortals crossing the sea of the East to attend the birthday of the Queen Mother of the West. The lantern form was complemented by a rare openwork iron red and gold enamelled porcelain stand with a cobalt-blue Qianlong mark.
The vase has a provenance to Capitaine Antoine Laporte who was stationed in Peking at the beginning of the 20th century and was a major donor to the Guimet National Museum of Asian Arts.
It also has a label bearing the inscription Chongli jin shiwu hao (Tribute of Chongli, number 15). This appears to reference Chongli (c.1840-1907), a key figure in late Qing politics who held various ministerial positions in a career of more than 40 years.
A supporter of the Empress Dowager Cixi during the 1898 coup, it may be that the piece had been a birthday gift for the Empress Dowager.