A collector from Shanghai, China, bought a rare Ming Dynasty cup for $36 million at an auction last week.
Yep, you read that right: 36 million bucks for a tiny little cup and it doesn’t even come with a lid and straw.
Even worse, it has chickens on it.
The sale, which was held in Hong Kong, smashed the previous world record price for Chinese porcelain.
The small white cup, which measures just 3.1 Inches in diameter — to small to hold the entire contents of a carton of milk from a school cafeteria — and is more than 500 years old. The vessel is known as a “Chicken Cup” because it’s decorated with a rooster and hen tending to their chicks.
The Chicken Cup was made during the reign of the Ming Dynasty’s Chenghua Emperor, who ruled from 1465 to 1487. Sotheby’s, the auction house where it was sold, said there are only 17 such cups in existence, with four in private hands and the rest in museums.
“There’s no more legendary object in the history of Chinese porcelain,” said Nicholas Chow, Sotheby’s deputy chairman for Asia. “This is really the holy grail when it comes to Chinese art.”
Sotheby’s said the previous record for Chinese porcelain was set in 2010 when a gourd-shaped Qianlong vase sold for $32.4 million.
Liu Yiqian, the winning bidder, is a middle-school dropout who drove a cab before becoming a multimillionaire. Forbes estimates his fortune at $900 million, making him the 200th richest person in China.
Reported by KELVIN CHAN of the Associated Press from HONG KONG.