Two jade imperial carvings, a pendant and a vase, which were taken from the Summer Palace in Beijing by a Scottish soldier, will top Bonhams' Fine Chinese Art auction on November 8.
At the end of the second opium war in 1860, British and French troops entered the Forbidden City, following the defeat of the Chinese forces. It was this move that led to the Convention of Peking being signed by the regent Prince Gong, and saw the Kowloon Peninsula handed over to the British.
Present during the strike on the Forbidden City was Captain George Forbes-Robertson, a Scottish officer of the 67th Regiment of Foot. Like most soldiers, dazzled by the array of wealth displayed within the Summer Palace's walls, Forbes-Robertson decided to take home a few gifts for his loved ones in Scotland - a pendant and vase.
The pendant was given to his brother Arthur and then passed to their mother in 1863. Finely carved from white jade, it features two pairs of phoenix (often associated with China's empresses) that surround four characters, which translate as: "benefit for sons and grandsons forever".
Proceeds from the pendant will certainly benefit the sons of the Scots family that consigned it, with an estimate of £60,000-100,000 ($95,500-159,000).
The hanging vase is expected to bring between £40,000 and £60,000. Complete with its cover, it is crafted from pale green jade and is carved with a taotie mask at each side, beneath a band of mythical beasts.