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Historic Japanese chest fetches $12m at French sale

Published on Jun 10, 2013 12:07 AM

CHEVERNY, France (AFP) - An Edo-era Japanese chest belonging to Cardinal Mazarin, France's chief minister from 1642 to 1661, was snapped up at an auction Sunday for 7.3 million euros (S$12 million) by Amsterdam's famed Rijksmuseum.

The black-and-gold lacquer chest, with silver and mother-of-pearl decorations, dates back to the start of Japan's Edo period and was acquired by Mazarin in 1658, auctioneer Philippe Rouillac said on Sunday after the sale in France's Loire Valley.

Rouillac found the chest when he was contacted by some people who wanted to sell their parents' home in the Loire Valley. The chest had been used as a bar for the past two decades.

Photographs dating back to the late 19th century confirmed that it was one of four chests bought by Mazarin, a great art collector who was Louis XIV's godfather.

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