A Chinese box by an emperor from Ming Dynasty is now set for auction. An ornate box that was likely acquired by an army major in the years immediately following World War II is currently up for auction - for the second time.
Since 1967, the box, which was crafted for Emperor Xuande in the 15th century, has been stored in the attic of the family home of Major Edward Coplestone Radcliffe, who served in World War II.
In the year 1946, Radcliffe purchased the box in an auction held in London. The event took place in the city.
After then, SWNS reports that he displayed it at the Chinese Exhibition that was being held at the National Gallery of South Africa.
It is believed that after Radcliffe's death in 1967, the box was placed in the attic of the family home, where it has remained untouched up to the present day. Radcliffe's demise occurred in the year 1967.
The information provided by SWNS indicates that the box will be made available for purchase by Dreweatts in the month of May 2023.
According to SWNS, the box is one of only two boxes of its sort that is held in private hands and is not displayed in a museum. The other box is also held in private hands and can be found here.
The fact that the box "bears the incised six-character marks of Xuande," which is something that is uncommon among boxes of this type, is mentioned in Antique Collecting magazine. It is believed that the box is one of just five that were ever created.
According to SWNS, Emperor Xuande was the fifth Emperor of the Ming Dynasty and governed for almost a decade, beginning in 1426 and ending in 1435. His reign spanned the years 1426-1435.
It is estimated that the vibrant box, which is covered all over with drawings of pomegranates and golden branches, is worth somewhere around $10,000 in today's market.
According to Dr. Yingwen Tao, an expert in Chinese and Asian art who works for Dreweatts, the businessthat will be holding the next auction for the box, the box was most likely crafted with the emperor in mind. He told SWNS:
There is every indication that all five [pieces in the collection] were made in the same imperial workshop, for the Emperor, as crucially, all are doubly marked with an incised Xuande six-character reign mark on the underside of the box and the interior of the cover.- Dr. Yingwen Tao
Tao continued by stating that they are all the same size and have consistent designs across the entirety of each one.
Mark Newstead, who is the director of Asian Ceramics and Works of Art at Dreweatts, commented that the piece at first glance appeared to be too good to be true. He told SWNS:
This initial estimate was based on it being from the 17th century, but it is now looking extremely modest, and it's thought it could achieve much more, even in its slightly damaged condition.- Mark Newstead
In May of 2023, the box will be offered for sale at auction by Dreweatts.