$1.4m ancient Chinese cauldron found smashed after being sent via courier service

A man in southern China may have suffered losses amounting to nearly seven million yuan (RM4.4mil) after the ancient bronze cauldron he sent via courier service ended up smashed to pieces, according to a newspaper report.

The man had agreed to sell the cauldron, which he claims date back to the Zhou dynasty (1046BC-256BC), to a collector in Shenzhen for 6.8mil yuan (RM4.3mil), the Southern Metropolis News reported.

The cauldron was shipped by courier from an undisclosed location in Hunan province to Shenzhen, but was found to have shattered to pieces on arrival.

The man said he paid more than 900 yuan (RM565) to send the package, including insurance, and that he had told the delivery firm to be careful with the handling of the valuable item.

The courier firm has accepted responsibility for the incident, but said it would only be able to pay the man 30,000 yuan (RM18,831) in insurance payout, according to the article.

However, doubts were raised as to whether the expert who vouched for the authenticity of the cauldron was qualified enough to evaluate the item or if the package had been clearly labelled as fragile.

Internet users were not overly sympathetic, saying the sender should have taken more precautions, reports The Star.

"If that piece is authentic, then only the seller can be blamed for trusting delivery couriers," one person wrote.

Another joked: "Good thing they didn't write 'antique' on the package or else all of the pieces would have gone."