A 14th century vase depicting a god in Chinese folk religion coming to the rescue of an emperor fetched more than $1 million on Sunday at a Beverly Hills art auction.
The 600-year-old white and blue porcelain vessel stands 14 inches and is in flawless condition after 600 years.
It is adorned with a warrior horse showing General Yuchi Gong saving Emperor Taizong from an assassination attempt, according to I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers, the art house that hosted the “Chinese Ceramics and Asian Works of Art” auction.
“We’ve never had anything like it,” said Josh Chait, director of operations for the gallery. “The auction got pretty heated.”
The Chinese Yuan Dynasty jar was the highest bid for an open auction that the gallery had ever had, Chait said.
Some 500 people bid in person, online and by phone.
The man who won, identified by Chait only as a prominent American collector, made his bid by phone in a tense session.
“It’s the same feeling as gambling -- you never know if you’re going to win or lose,” Chait said.
Collectors passing down the piece through the years kept it in pristine condition, Chait said.
A Ming Dynasty gilt bronze statue from the 15th century went for nearly $300,000.
The gallery is said to coincide with Asia Week New York, an exhibit with more than 40 shows featuring works of art from Japan, China, Korea and South Asia.