Shanghai collector acquires tiny tea cup for $36 million

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Friday, April 11, 2014, 2:50 -

A Shanghai collector has acquired a famous piece Chinese art for a staggering $36 million.

It is referred to as the Meiyintang "chicken cup" and, according to auctioneer Sotheby's, it possesses "flawless translucent sides" and a "lively scene painted continuously around its sides."

The tea cup was created during the reign of the Ming Dynasty's Chenghua Emperor, who was in power in the late fifteenth century.

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"There's no more legendary object in the history of Chinese porcelain," Nicholas Chow, Sotheby's deputy chairman for Asia, told the Associated Press.

"This is really the holy grail when it comes to Chinese art."

The buyer has been identified as Liu Yiqian, a middle-school dropout and former cab driver whose current wealth is estimated at $900 million.

According to Sotheby's Liu plans to display his new purchase in his Shanghai museum.

The tiny tea cup has set a new world record for a porcelain purchase. The previous record was set in 2010 when a gourd-shaped vase sold for $32.4 million.

With files from the Associated Press

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