A 300 year old Chinese bamboo brushpot, which had been donated to a West Country charity shop, sold at Woolley and Wallis Asian Art sale yesterday for £360,000. The full proceeds will go to the Bristol-based charity.
When workers in one of the charity's shops accepted another donation from the public, they had no idea of the treasure they were about to uncover. As they unwrapped the items one piece caught the eye: what appeared to be a very old carved wooden pot. Unsure of what they had, the charity contacted Clevedon Salerooms where research by Mark Fraser, Senior Valuer, revealed the potential importance of the Chinese bamboo brushpot. Marc Burridge of the Bristol based salerooms then showed the piece to one of the country's leading experts in Asian Art, John Axford of Woolley & Wallis. Mr Axford confirmed that it was in fact a rare carved 'landscape' bitong, or brushpot, made in China between 1662 and 1722 by one of the most famous artists of the period. He also told the charity that it could be worth a significant sum. The charity decided to consign it to the next specialist Asian Art auction at Woolley and Wallis.
When the hammer finally fell at the auction yesterday, bidding on the brushpot had reached £360,000. The winning bidder was a collector from Hong Kong, who was amongst bidders from around the world keen to acquire this rare piece.
Head of Asian Art at Woolley and Wallis, John Axford, said:
"We are delighted with this result for the charity - we hope such a significant sum will really make a difference to their work. The brushpot is a very fine and rare example and generated a lot of excitement at the auction."