When Mark Newstead, the Asian ceramics and artworks consultant who works for auction house Dreweatts, looked at a blue-and-gold porcelain vase sitting in the kitchen of one of his friends, he thought its colors, design, and shape looked rather familiar. His gut feeling proved right, and upon further examination, Newstead determined that the vase was a rare 18th-century ceramic piece from China’s Qing Dynasty.
The Qing Dynasty Vase Was Valued at $186,000 but Sold for Much More
Despite the valuation of the 18th-century vase at around $186,000, it was auctioned for some $1.8 million. According to Dreweatts, the two-foot-tall artifact was bought in the 1980s by an English surgeon for just a few hundred pounds. It was passed down to the son of that surgeon and displayed in his kitchen and drawing-room. This same person was Newstead’s friend, and their friendship led to the discovery of the vase. The artifact’s earlier provenance is not clear.
According to Justin Jacobs, who is a history professor at American University and studies the plunder of Chinese cultural artifacts, the vase could have been a gift from the emperor. It could have been sold under duress during the 20th century or taken as a spoil of war during either of the military’s plunders of 1860 or 1901. How the artifact actually left China will likely remain a mystery.
The Vase Has a Mark Associated With the Qianlong Emperor
There is a six-character mark that can be found on the bottom of the vase, and it was determined that it was associated with the Qianlong emperor, who ruled between 1736 and 1795 and was the Qing Dynasty’s sixth emperor. The Qing Dynasty ruled over China from 1644 to 1912 and was the country’s last imperial dynasty.
While the Qing Dynasty did not last, much of its art still remains, with porcelain being one of the era’s major art forms. The finesse of the craftsmanship of the recently discovered vase matches the descriptions of porcelain art from that period. The vessel is adorned with depictions of cranes, bats, fans, flutes, and clouds.
In sports, things often get heated during play, but history shows they get just as steamy off the court. Basketball Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen recently said he believes he was LeBron James before LeBron James ever came to be.
In Case You Don’t Know Who Scottie Pippen Is
Born as Scotty Maurice Pippen, and professionally known as Scottie Pippen, he is a former pro basketball player who did 17 seasons in the NBA, winning six championships playing for the Chicago Bulls. He ended his career with game averages of 5.2 assists, 6.4 rebounds, and 16.1 points. He made seven All-Star teams and was an eight-time All-Defensive First Team selection. In addition, Scottie was also named to the All-NBA first-team a total of three times.
The First LeBron James
In an interview, Scottie recently compared himself to LeBron James, saying he was LeBron way before LeBron became the notorious player he is considered to be. James’ career averages are well above those of Scottie, but according to Pippen, people shouldn’t compare LeBron to the basketball’s greatest players. Why? Because if you look at how Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson played, and then you compare that to LeBron, you won’t see many similarities. Instead, Scottie Pippen says people should compare James with him. Their play is much more similar and can actually be compared.
A Career Worth Remembering
Scottie Pippen retired in 2008, and the Chicago Bulls retired his notorious No. 33. He played alongside Michael Jordan, and both had an important role in popularizing the NBA across the globe during the 1990s as well as in transforming the Chicago Bulls into an A-list championship team. Whether Scottie was LeBron before LeBron or not, is subject to debate, but one thing is certain — Scottie gave a lot to this great sport and will forever be one of its brightest stars.