Compton Verney, a museum outside Stratford-upon-Avon, England, placed the winning bid at Sotheby's New York auction galleries on Tuesday. The vessel had a pre-sale estimate of $2 million (EUR1.5 million) to $3 million (EUR2.3 million).
The artifact from the Shang Dynasty between 13th-11th century B.C. was consigned by the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, which was selling it to raise money to buy works for its contemporary art collection.
It was the top item of a two-day sale of Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art that featured 480 lots of archaic bronzes, ceramics, stone sculpture, jades and rhinoceros horn carvings.
Twenty-three other pieces from the Albright-Knox Gallery sold for a total of $18.3 million (EUR13.8 million), Sotheby's said.
The Compton Verney museum in Warwickshire houses six permanent collections in an 18th-century mansion on 120 acres (49 hectares) of parkland. It boasts the largest display of Chinese bronzes outside London, reports AP.
The Albright-Knox Gallery is governed by the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, and describes itself as one of the nation's oldest public arts organizations. Its collection focuses on contemporary art.