Believing he had something special on his hands, the unidentified man emailed photos and information to the Sotheby’s auction house, asking for an appraisal, according to the Associated Press.
The email stood out against the barrage of similar requests, impressing Sotheby’s in-house Chinese ceramics and art experts Angela McAteer and Hang Yin.
McAteer, Sotheby’s senior vice president and head of its Chinese artwork department, told the AP that it was obvious to her and Yin that there was something special about the bowl.
“The style of painting, the shape of the bowl, even just the color of the blue is very characteristic of this porcelain period of the early 15th century,” she told the newspaper.
The smooth-to-the-touch white bowl adorned with blue flowers and stems and black strokes features features from the early Ming Dynasty, specifically under Emperor Yongle, according to McAteer.
Sotheby’s told the AP that the Yongle court was credited with introducing a new style of porcelain kilns in the city of Jingdezhen. The elaborate designs that surround the inner and outer rim of the bowl and its depictions of various flowers show that this is a true mark of the early 1400s, according to experts.
McAteer told the AP that she was always amazed that discoveries like man’s could still happen and that for her, the excitement of the treasures discovered never wanes.
The lotus bud or chicken heart shaped dish will be auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York on March 17.