Ancient Chinese Painting Sells for Almost $60 Million at Christie’s Hong Kong Auction

Ancient Chinese Painting Sells for Almost $60 Million at Christie’s Hong Kong Auction

A 1,000-year-old Song dynasty ink painting by one of China's greatest masters Su Shi fetched US$59.5 million (HK$463,600,000) at Christie’s Hong Kong auction. This sale was also the highlight of Christie’s Autumn 2018 auction season in Hong Kong.

“Titled ‘Wood and Rock,’ the ink-on-paper handscroll depicts a dragon-like old tree with withered branches and a sharp rock resting at its root,” writes Christie’s. “The scroll is 185.5 cm long and is inscribed with calligraphy and the poems of four important literati of the 11th century in China. The scroll also has seals of 41 collectors.” 

The scroll painting sparked a bidding battle that lasted for just over five minutes before selling for $HK$463,600,000 / $59,505,898 (including buyer’s premium). The historically significant panting had also begun an aesthetic revolution in China. 

“As the hammer came down, applause rang out in the Grand Hall of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The price made the ancient artwork the most expensive object ever sold by Christie’s in Asia, surpassing the HK$348.4 million paid for an Imperial embroidered silk thangka on this day four years ago,” the auction house added.

“This season saw exceptional results for the Chinese Paintings category, with almost half of all lots sold across Classical, Modern, and Contemporary periods exceeding their high estimate. We were also honored to have been entrusted with the sale of ‘Wood and Rock’ by Su Shi, which set a new record for Christie’s in Asia at HK$464m/US$60m. Our luxury categories performed strongly, led by ‘The Peacock Necklace,’ which set a world auction record for a Kashmir sapphire necklace. We were also encouraged by the strong public turnout for both of our Western Art exhibitions, bearing testament to Hong Kong’s position as a global art epicenter,” comments Rebecca Wei, Christie’s President Asia.

An extremely rare Ru ware sky-blue ‘tea bowl,’ one of fewer than 100 pieces of Ru ware that survive intact today was the second highest price in the 21-lot sale. It is regarded as the most beautiful of all Chinese ceramics, and its scarcity means it is highly coveted by collectors and institutions.

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Founder: Louise Blouin  


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