BEIJING auctioneers Poly established a new milestone for Chinese art on June 3 selling a 38ft (15m) long calligraphic hand scroll by a Song Dynasty master for RMB390m ($57.4m) plus 12 per cent buyer's premium.
The longest extant calligraphic hand scroll by Huang Tingjian
(1045-1105) - generally regarded as the finest and most creative
calligrapher of the Song Dynasty - boasts an unparalleled history
Titled Di Zhu Ming and completed in 1095, it was extended from
the original length of just over 20ft (8m) over a period of 800
years as subsequent owners - from Chinese literati to royal court
officials - added additional inscriptions to the piece. The work
also holds significant value for the study of Chinese history and
literature, as it bears an eloquent essay on morality and justice
by Tang dynasty statesman Wei Zheng.
Bidding for the scroll took close to 40 minutes with more than
70 individual bids taken in increments of RMB5m before it was
knocked down to a telephone bidder. The price betters the previous
record for a Chinese work of art, the £14m taken for a Yuan blue
and white guan at Christie's in July 2005.
Poly - the largest auction house in mainland China - outshone
all their rivals with a fifth anniversary five-sale series from
June 1-5 comprising classical and modern calligraphy and paintings,
ceramics and works of art and contemporary Chinese art.
The premium-inclusive total across the five days was RMB