The cup, which dates back to the 15th century, is currently owned by a Swiss collector in his nineties. Originally, he had asked to pull the cup from the sale, but reportedly had second thoughts. “It’s such a great treasure, he didn’t want to part with it as he treasured it so much,” the seller’s advisor, Giuseppe Eskenazi, told Bloomberg. “But finally, he agreed a few hours ago to go ahead.”
Sotheby’s is billing the rare collectible as a “potential record breaker” and has labeled it as the finest piece of privately owned Chinese ceramics in existence today. Adorned with the images of a rooster, hen and chicks, which symbolize the emperor, empress and their subjects, the piece has been nicknamed the “chicken cup.” It measures 3.1 inches in diameter and has a more playful, almost cartoonish vibe, than other ceramic works from the period.
“This is the most valuable piece of porcelain in any private collection,” Eskenazi added. The auction is slated to take place on April 8.