A stunning traditional Chinese stone carving, with estimated value of over 160 million yuan, will be auctioned off early October, according to a Beijing-based auction company.
The wonderful art work, currently on exhibition at the Palace Museum or the Forbidden City, was made by more than 100 Chinese craftsmen, lasting for eleven years and using 32,000 working hours.
Called The Hundred Beauties of Cathay, the 51-meter-long, 2.23- meter-high and 4.2 tons in weight piece of art, is inlaid with life-sized gem carvings delineating 100 female figures in ancient Chinese history, including empresses, consorts, princesses, heroines, famous beauties, artists and characters from mythology.
As a precious work of art, the sculptured screen integrates traditional Chinese carving techniques of jade carving, stone carving, wood carving, ivory carving, shell carving, lacquer art, and recovers a light-pushing painting (one kind of lacquer art) and snail-skimming technique that had been lost for a long time.
Lin Jiajun, the leading craftsman from Qingtian, east China's Zhejiang province, said that the money will be used later to establish funds for the promotion of traditional Chinese culture and building the Huaxia Art Museum.
Zhang Shufen, a researcher with the Palace Museum, said that the huge quantity of works and the impossibility to reproduce it endow the work with immense value for collection and big room for appreciation, let alone its inherent value.
"This auction will be orientated to prospective buyers from both home and abroad, and the work itself is expected to become the piece auctioned off with the highest price ever in history," said Tang Shengli, general manager of the Beijing Tiandijiu Auction Co. Ltd, the sole company in charge of this auction.
The venue of auction is temporarily settled at Zhaigong Palace in the Palace Museum. Experts estimated that the artistic work will be finally sold between 160-400 million yuan.
(People’s Daily 08/29/2001)