By Agence France-Presse
Measuring 14.7 cm (just under six inches) in diameter, the dainty pink bowl is decorated with falangcai (painted enamels combining Chinese and Western techniques) and flowers, including daffodils which are not typically depicted on Chinese porcelain.
Nicolas Chow, deputy chairman for Sotheby's Asia, holds an extremely rare Qing Dynasty bowl -- one of only three known to exist -- during a media preview at auction house Sotheby's in Hong Kong on March 1, 2018, before its upcoming sale on April 3. // AFP PHOTO
Hong Kong's auction houses have seen frenzied bidding among Asian buyers in recent years, with sales of diamonds, handbags and ancient ceramics shattering world records.
Sotheby's Hong Kong expects the Qing Dynasty bowl, used by the Kangxi Emperor in the 1720s, to make history again in an upcoming sale on April 3.
"Definitely we will see the most important collectors of Chinese porcelain active," deputy chairman for Sotheby's Asia Nicolas Chow said in a preview Thursday.
"We will see quite a battle this season," Chow added.
The bowl was created in an imperial workshop within Beijing's Forbidden City by a small team of craftsmen, with the help of Jesuits from Europe who had brought over new techniques and materials, according to Sotheby's.
Last year, a 1,000-year-old bowl from China's Song Dynasty sold for US$37.7 million, setting a record for Chinese ceramics.
That sale surpassed the previous record of $36.05 million set in 2014 for a Ming Dynasty wine cup which was snapped up by a Shanghai tycoon famous for making eye-watering bids.