Chinese jar fetches pounds 15m at auction.
The blue and white Chinese jar (right) dates from the Yuan Dynasty (1279 to 1368) and depicts scenes from the literature of the time.
It was bought for three times as much as the previous best-selling piece of Asian art - a bronze ritual wine jar sold for pounds 5.2 million in 2001.
Yesterday's jar was only recently discovered in a routine valuation.
The owners then decided to sell, saying it was too valuable to keep in their home.
The jar, measuring 27.5cm in height and 33cm in diameter, was expected to fetch more than pounds 1 million. It eventually sold for pounds 15,688,000A Christie's spokeswoman said it was sold by a family in Europe. She added: 'It's absolutely beautiful. It has fetched an extraordinary price and is an extraordinary work of art.
'It's a rediscovered work of art. The family didn't really know how valuable it was, before a Christie's valuer went to have a look.
'The owners were overwhelmed and decided it was too valuable to keep in their home