Estimated to fetch £1m-1.5m (over £100,000 per centimetre)* this long lost imperial seal of the Qianlong Emperor looks set to be the star lot of Bonhams' Fine Chinese Art sale this week.
The jade seal came from the emperor's small private room of treasures, called the Hall of the Three Rarities, after the three precious calligraphies that hung there. It is marked with the name of this special room, only big enough for one, where the emperor would admire his most treasured objects and use this seal to mark those he most favoured - indeed a residue of red seal paste is still visible on the underside.
The Chinese art market is booming at present, and there is particular interest in works from the period of the Qianlong Emperor, who is considered one of the greatest imperial art patrons. In the film above, Asaph Hyman, Director of Chinese Art at Bonhams in London, talks about the Qianlong Emperor and this carved jade imperial seal.