London, Oct 7 (IANS) A rare Ming dynasty cup worth over two million pounds, which bears the six-character mark of the 15th century Chinese ruler Xuande (CE 1425-1435), will be sold at the Asia Week Hong Kong next year.
The piece has been identified as the single most valuable in a remarkable collection of more than 250 items, bequeathed to Britain’s Staffordshire University by collector Ernest Thornhill, a pharmacist from London, in 1944.
The British university has appointed auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull to sell the valuable stem cup so that it can raise funds to build a permanent new home at its Stoke-on-Trent campus for the remainder of the collection, which remained hidden in storage for many years, the varsity said in a statement.
The collection contains Chinese wares along with a small number of Korean and Japanese pieces. The earliest pieces in the collection belong to the Shang (BCE 1700-1028) and Zhou (BCE 1027-221) dynasties.
Ceramic experts Steven Moore and Anna Westin have advised that the collection is a rare and rich resource for students, academic researchers and professional practitioners.
It is clear from the bequest that Ernest Thornhill intended his collection to be used as a study resource,” Staffordshire University’s deputy vice-chancellor Rosy Crehan was quoted as saying.
He, however, added that the value of the entire collection has increased significantly in recent years to the point where the university is not able to house and display it securely.
“The only reason for selling is so that we can raise the funds to do that,” Crehan said.