A 900-year-old Chinese ceramic dish from the era of the Song dynasty sold for $26.7 million at an auction in Hong Kong.

The flower-shaped, celadon porcelain bowl, known as the Ruyao Washer, sold for three times its estimated pre-sale price at a Sotheby's auction. It is one of 70 Ru pieces in existence known to come from a particular kiln near Ruzhou, Henan.

The ru ceramics already were very valuable and scarce even during their period of production, wrote Chinese ceramics expert Maria Fernanda Lochschmidt in an analysis for Watershed.com

Differently from other types of ceramics, the pieces were produced in smaller quantities, and then they were carefully selected and destined exclusively for the court. Those with unsatisfactory finishing were normally destroyed, never sold to someone else.

A Sotheby's spokesperson said the ceramic dish came from a private Japanese collection and was arguably the most desirable piece of Ru official ware remaining in private hands, Bloomberg's BusinessWeek reported.

The auction house did not reveal the identity of the winning bidder, but said that eight people competed for 15 minutes over the coveted dish.