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Ming painting may smash price record
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A Ming Dynasty painting could smash a new price world record for an ancient Chinese artwork when it goes to auction next month in Beijing.

The Red Cliff Handscroll by Qiu Ying (1494-1552), an artist based in Suzhou of East China's Jiangsu Province, has its bottom price set at 50 million yuan (US$6.67 million) by the China Guardian Art Auction Co Ltd, the largest art auction house on the mainland. It was consigned by a private collector on the mainland and will go under the hammer on November 1.

The current world record for the sale of an ancient Chinese painting was broken in 2002, when a handscroll by Emperor Huizong (1101-26) of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) was sold in Beijing for 25.3 million yuan (US$3.16 million).

Qiu was a master of gongbi, a meticulous brush technique of precise detail.

He left a mere 40 pieces of arts, mostly of which are in museum collections.

The artist created three similar handscrolls of the Red Cliff, which lies beside the Yangtze River in central China's Hubei Province, Liu Kai, manager of the Chinese painting department of the auction house, said.

All were once owned by the Qing royal family, and two of them are in collections of the Shanghai Museum and the Liaoning Museum in Shenyang of northeast China's Liaoning Province.

Seals of collectors on the third handscroll indicate that it was collected by Zhang Xiuyu, one of the greatest art sponsors at the time.

(China Daily October 17, 2007)

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