Sotheby's tempts collectors of ancient Chinese art again

By Lin Qi ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-09-22 07:06:00

Sotheby's tempts collectors of ancient Chinese art again

Sotheby’s upcoming auction features classical ink paintings, including Huang Yanlyu Traveling Across Mountains by Qing Dynasty painter Shitao. [Photo provided To China Daily]

Buyers of ancient Chinese art will reappear in Sotheby's salesroom in Hong Kong next month.

The last time Sotheby's auctioned classical ink art in the city was some 15 years ago.

More than 50 lots of ink paintings and works of calligraphy of prominent artists from the Song (960-1279) to the Qing (1644-1911) dynasties will go under the hammer at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center on Oct 5.

The sale features pieces by the Four Wangs (painters all surnamed Wang) and the Four Monk Painters. The works represent two artistic trends in the early Qing Dynasty.

The paintings include a landscape by Hongren, one of the Four Monk Painters who was also a member of the Anhui school of painting. The work is titled Summit Lotus. Here the artist visualizes a magnificent view during a trip to the Huangshan Mountain in Anhui province.

Another highlight of the auction is Huang Yanlyu Traveling across Mountains, a landscape by Qing master painter Shitao. He recorded a scene from the extensive travels by his friend and patron Huang Yanlyu, who he put in the center of the painting.

Huang came from a well-off family involved in the salt trade. He supported several painters including Shitao and Bada Shanren not only because of his appreciation of their art but also because they had rebelled against the Qing Dynasty and shared nostalgia for the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Sotheby's has held sales of ancient Chinese paintings in New York twice a year since 2011.

It hopes that the reintroduction of the sales in Hong Kong will solidify the category's steady performance in the art market.

The New York sales coincide with Asia Week New York, a cultural event held in March and September annually that attracts Chinese mainland buyers. This deep-pocketed group seeks Chinese antiquities with a sound provenance and often starts a bidding war in the salesrooms of Christie's and Sotheby's.

Among the group is Shanghai billionaire Liu Yiqian. He has often made headlines for his extravagant purchases.

He bought Gong Fu Tie Calligraphy with a signature by Su Shi, a Song Dynasty literati, for $8.23 million in Sotheby's sale in September 2013.

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