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Chinese 'chicken cup' sells for record $36M

Published On: Apr 08 2014 08:58:56 AM CDT
Chinese chicken cup

Bobby Yip/Reuters

A Chinese "chicken cup" dating back to the Ming Dynasty sold for a record $36 million at an auction in Hong Kong.

That's right. A cup.

But this isn't your ordinary piece of porcelain.

The tiny white cup, measuring just 3 inches in diameter and decorated with a hen and rooster, was crafted 500 years ago and is one of just 17 in existence, according to Sotheby's.

Four are in private hands and the rest are in museums.

This one was snapped up by Shanghai collector Liu Yiqian.

"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 previous record for Chinese porcelain was set in 2010, when a Qianlong vase sold for $32.4 million.

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