Qing charger

Qing Dynasty charger, €39,000 (£33,335) at Kendzia.

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The platter, 17in (43cm) in diameter, can be dated to the years 1710-20 and was decorated with a lush proliferation of plant tendrils. At the centre was a heraldic shield with seven rabbits and a lion. This combination is identifiable as the coat of arms of the Portuguese noble family Coelho. The choice of animal was by no means coincidental: the Portuguese word coelho means rabbit.

The number of rabbits on the heraldic shield is also significant: the seven rabbits denote that this plate belonged to António de Albuquerque Coelho de Carvalho, who among other things was Governor General of Rio de Janeiro from 1709-13.

Similar pieces that were owned by his illegitimate son, António de Albuquerque Coelho, who was born in Brazil and held several posts in the Portuguese colonial administration, had only six rabbits; a younger son’s plates only had four rabbits on the coat of arms, a clear sign of the hierarchy. It is thought that the charger in Hamburg was commissioned by António for his father.

A smaller platter with identical décor was sold by Sotheby’s in New York in April last year for $10,000, double the estimate. The larger version in Hamburg did even better; it went from the guide of €2400 to a hammer of €39,000 (£33,335).