An extremely rare translucent banded agate oval dish.  Incised Yongzheng horizontal four-character mark and of the period. Photo Bonhams

Finely and thinly carved as a slender deep bowl, entirely plain, the stone containing natural whorls of banded white and grey tone, the mark carefully carved within a recessed oval forming the underside. 18.7cm (7 3/8in) wide. Sold for £216,000

Provenance: a British private collection.

According to the family, the agate dish has been with the family from at least as early as the 1950s, and thence by descent.

Agate vessels inscribed with the Yongzheng reign mark are extremely rare. However, for related agate bowls and a cup and saucer, Yongzheng mark and of the period, from the National Palace Museum, see Harmony and Integrity: The Yongzheng Emperor and His Times, Taipei, 2009, pp.235-242, 244-245. For an agate lobed dish with an incised Shou character from the Palace Museum, Beijing, see Imperial Treasures from the Palace Museum, Shanghai Museum, 2006, pl.27.

Bonhams. Fine Chinese Art, 12 May 2011, New Bond Street www.bonhams.com