Culture / Auctions

Emperor Qianlong’s Chinese imperial seal from the 18th century sells for 21 million euros at auction

A Chinese imperial seal that once belonged to the nation’s longest serving emperor, fetches a staggering amount at an auction by Drouot auction house

Dec 21, 2016 | By Staff Writer

The auction house of Drouot recently announced the sale of an 18th century Chinese imperial seal that made the headlines for more than just its historical value. Fetching 21 million euros, the rare stamp in red and beige nephrite jade had a final price tag that was over 20 times its estimate.

Believed to have been from the Qianlong period between 1736 to 1795, the stamp was owned by Emperor Qianlong, the longest serving emperor in chinese history. Nine dragons on the sides of the seal symbolise the emperor’s masculine power and imperial authority. The new owner happens to be an unnamed Chinese collector who won a furious bidding war.

The seal was acquired in the late 19th century by a young French naval doctor in China and had remained in the family since. The doctor built an impressive collection during his many visits to China. Other items that went under the hammer from the same collection, included two paintings from Japanese master Katsushika Hokusai. The paintings, “36 views of Mount Fiji” and “Big wave at Kanagawa” were expected to fetch 30,000 euros.

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