Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Chinese robe sells for £15,000

The Chinese robe sold at auction in Edinburgh dates from the Qing dynasty of the 19th century

A 200-year-old Chinese imperial robe has sold for six times its initial valuation at auction.

The garment, known as an imperial kesi ground formal robe, dates from the Qing dynasty of the 19th century.

It was found thousands of miles from China in a wardrobe at a house in the Highlands, much to the surprise of experts.

It went under the hammer at Edinburgh-based auction house Lyon and Turnbull, valued at £2,500.

But it sold for £15,000 today during a sale of fine Asian works of art.

The original owner, who has not been named, said "We are delighted with the outcome of the sale and were watching the auction online. We couldn't believe that it went so far over the estimate, especially as I was just about to send it off to the charity shop. With Christmas coming I am sure that I will be able to spend it on presents for the family."

The robe depicts a woven gold dragon against a decorative background. The dragon symbolised the emperor, and permission to wear the robe was given by him.

Those who reached the status of a government official were also granted the privilege of wearing such court robes, in which rank was distinguished by a hierarchy of colours and ornamentation.

Lyon and Turnbull said it is unclear how the robe came to be at the house in Scotland, although the country does have a history of travel to the Far East by seafarers, soldiers, colonial administrators and merchant bankers.

It is understood the robe will now be returning to China.

Lee Young, Asian specialist at the auctioneers, said after the sale: "This is a great result and exactly what makes my job so exciting; you just never know what you might find. I was on a general valuation at a house in the Highlands when I found the robe."

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