A rare Chinese Qianlong dynasty teapot was sold for the astonishing price of £2.6million which is ten times more than its expected price.

About a dozen bidders have battled for the 18th-century piece, being one of the only two known to exist.

The work of art is a tribute to the love of tea of Emperor Qianlong and features a figure, probably the Emperor’s, who is being served some tea while looking at a hand scroll.

It was sold by Sotheby’s in New York, the auction house giving it a starting price of around £225,000.

The bidding began at £190,000 and passed quickly £750,000 as bidders were fighting it out.

The beautifully detailed teapot was bought by an Asian buyer who paid £2.6million for it, with everyone in the room applauding the result.

The Sotheby’s Chinese works of art department head, Angela McAteer said:

‘The contest among more than ten bidders that pushed a 250-year-old teapot to £2.6million reminded us of auction’s unique magic. The piece, having been enjoyed by an American collector for decades, was just one of a number of works that soared over pre-sale expectations after drawing bidding from determined collectors.’

Emperor Qianlong was born on 25 September 1711 and died on February 7, 1799, and was the sixth king that led the Qing dynasty and the fourth Qing emperor who ruled over China properly. It was the fourth son of Emperor Yongzheng, reigning officially from October 11, 1735, until 8 February 1796. On 8 February he abdicated in favor of his son, Emperor Jiaqing – an act of filial respect, in order to rule no more than his grandfather, the illustrious Emperor Kangxi.