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The art of knowing when to buy

11-25-2010 14:06 BJT

BEIJING, Nov. 25 -- China's autumn auctions show a rather voracious appetite for ancient pieces. Art experts and collectors believe prices have further room to rise as some investors look for new ways to offset rising inflation. Wang Jie reports.

It's another new record.

At China Guardian's autumn auction last Saturday in Beijing, a hand scroll script sold for a staggering 308 million yuan (US$46.4 million).

The script was created by Wang Xizhi (303-361), a master calligrapher from the Jin Dynasty (265-420), and features only 41 characters.

In the Chinese mainland art market, the price of Wang's rare script was second only to calligrapher Huang Tingjian (1045-1105)'s hand scroll "Pillar Ming," purchased for 436.8 million yuan last year. The 8.24-meter-long scroll features about 600 characters.

"We had estimated Wang's script would fetch around 100 million yuan," says Deng Jing, spokeswoman for China Guardian. "But this was far beyond our expectations. Obviously, this is a stunning result."

Apart from Wang's scroll, the China Guardian autumn auction has also seen a breakthrough in sales of ancient Chinese furniture. One piece of furniture from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) sold for 39.76 million yuan, the most expensive piece of ancient Chinese furniture on record.

A traditional ink-wash painting created by Li Keran (1907-1989) auctioned for 107.5 million yuan, setting an auction record for traditional ink-wash paintings.


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