Chinese Ming Dynasty 'chicken cup' smashes sale record

The moment the most expensive cup sold

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A tiny porcelain cup, dating back to the Ming Dynasty, has fetched $36m (£21.5m) at an auction in Hong Kong, setting a new record.

The 'chicken cup', so-called because it is decorated with a rooster and hen tending to their chicks, was bought by a Shanghai collector.

It is eight centimetres (3.1 inches) in diameter and is 500 years old.

Sotheby's said the previous record for Chinese porcelain was set in 2010 when a vase sold for $32.4m (£19.3m).

The cup was made during the reign of the Ming Dynasty's Chenghua Emperor, who ruled from 1465 to 1487.

According to Sotheby's, only 17 such cups are in existence, with four in private hands and the rest in museums.

Nicholas Chow, Sotheby's deputy chairman for Asia said "There's no more legendary object in the history of Chinese porcelain.

"This is really the holy grail when it comes to Chinese art."

The buyer, Liu Yiqian is, with an estimated fortune of $900m (£538m), the 200th richest person in China.

The cup is likely to be displayed in Liu's Long Museum in Shanghai, which he and his wife opened in 2012.

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