15th century Chinese encyclopedia volumes sell for $9 million


Published in Weird News

(UPI) A pair of volumes from a 15th century Chinese encyclopedia sold for more than 1,000 times their estimated price when they fetched a high bid of more than $9 million.

Paris-based auction house Beaussant Lefevre said the volumes from the Yongle Dadian, the encyclopedia commissioned by Yongle Emperor, the third ruler of the Ming Dynasty, sold for more than $9 million in a Tuesday auction.

The volumes had been expected to sell for up to $9,000, the auction house said.

The Yongle Dadian was compiled by more than 2,000 scholars working from 1404 and 1408, and the original was composed of 22,877 chapters, making it the largest encyclopedia known to history.


The auction house said the two volumes auctioned Tuesday were copies commissioned by the Jiajing Emperor in 1562.

Only 400 volumes from the encyclopedia are known to still exist -- about 4 percent of the original encyclopedia -- and 24 of them are housed at the British Library.

Beaussant Lefevre said one of the volumes sold in Tuesday's auction was about the lakes of China and the other holds descriptions of funeral rites.

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