Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Qing Imperial Scroll May Fetch HK$80 Million or More at Sale

By Le-Min Lim

Bloomberg - A Qing Dynasty imperial scroll that shows China's Emperor Qianlong leading 16,000 troops may fetch more than HK$80 million ($10.2 million) in Hong Kong, said auction house Sotheby's.

The 15.5-meter Dayue Tu is the third of four handscrolls commissioned by Qianlong (reign: 1735-1796) in 1746 to show his military might, according to Sotheby's. Two of the scrolls are missing and a third is in the Palace Museum Beijing, said Sotheby's, which has its main salerooms in New York.

The scroll is among the top lots in Sotheby's Hong Kong sale of 1,500 paintings, gems and antiques that may fetch more than HK$2 billion at its October auction.

These are rare works and should draw top collectors,'' said Qu Liqun, a Shanghai-based collector. Qu said he hasn't seen the pieces and couldn't speak to their authenticity.
The scroll, previously sold by Sotheby's rival Christie's International for about HK$30 million in April 2004, was consigned by an Asian private collector, said Nicolas Chow, Sotheby's Hong Kong-based head of Chinese ceramics, in an interview.
The auction market's penchant for museum-quality works was shown at Christie's International's Hong Kong sale of antiques in May when 15 rare Qing Dynasty imperial clocks fetched more than seven times their presale estimates while lesser pieces languished.

Dragon Rising
At the coming auction, Sotheby's said it also will offer a Qianlong Emperor jade-hilted saber and scabbard worth more than HK$40 million. The curved-blade saber bears Qianlong's reign mark, and the panel on the reverse depicts a dragon rising among clouds, Sotheby's said. The item was last offered at auction by Sotheby's in April 2006 for HK$44 million, said Chow.
The auction house said it will also offer Qianlong imperial seals from the estate of French collector Emile Guimet (1836- 1918). The star piece of the Guimet collection is a white-jade seal featuring two intertwined dragons and bearing four Chinese characters that mean ``The Imperial Hand of Qianlong,'' which is expected to sell for more than HK$50 million.
The items will be offered on Oct. 8 in Hong Kong. The city, which levies no tax on artworks, is the top market for Chinese ceramics traded outside mainland China. The sale is part of a four-day auction starting Oct. 4.

Sotheby's and Christie's hold biannual auctions in Hong Kong, the third largest auction market after New York and London.

To contact the reporters for this story: Le-Min Lim in Hong Kong at lmlim@bloomberg.net
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