The 13th Century Chinese Scroll Sold For US$49 Million.
A 13th-century classical Chinese scroll painting fetched US$49 million from an anonymous bidder at a New York auction on Wednesday, 15 March 2017. The ink brush painting titled Nine Dragons once belonged to Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It was transported to Japan in the early 20th century and then became part of the collection of the Osaka-based Fujita Museum. The museum auctioned off 31 Chinese works of art in its collection, including the painting, at Christie’s in New York. The sale raised funds for a refurbishment project at the museum. Nine Dragons was produced by Song Dynasty (960-1279) official painter Chen Rong, who achieved excellence in painting dragons. However, he is little known today because he was only briefly mentioned in historical documents. In his vivid Nine Dragons, Chen created fierce dragons that move freely through waves and mist. Ji Tao, an art market observer in Beijing, said Chen preferred to paint after he got slightly drunk. “He splashed extensive ink to portray seas, clouds and strange rocks by which he highlighted the strong motion and volume of dragons, and therefore he conveyed a mystical feeling.” Chen’s dragon paintings also reveal his political views and ambition, Ji said.
Twenty-two paintings signed by Chen Rong are found in museums and private collections worldwide, and eleven of them are in the United States and Japan, according to Zhu Wanzhang, a researcher at the National Museum of China. Beijing’s Palace Museum houses two of Chen’s calligraphy pieces.
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