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The 22 March auction of Fine Classical Chinese Paintings, marks the the debut sale of this category in Sotheby’s New York Asia Week series of events. The sale includes a rich and varied selection of fine paintings and calligraphy works dating from the 12th century to the 20th century. The number of important and rare works, many from private collections and fresh to the market, is particularly notable.
Highlights from the sale include an extremely rare Calligraphy in Various Script Forms by the emperors of the Southern Song (Lot 686, est. $750,000/1 million). Originally three separate fan leaves and one album leaf, now mounted as a handscroll, the piece consists of poems written by the first four emperors of the Southern Song Dynasty, beginning with Emperor Gaozong, who established the Southern Song Dynasty in 1127.
An additional highlight is Landscape After Lu Guang by Hongren, a leading artist of the Huangshan School in the late Ming Dynasty (Lot 644, est. $1/1.2 million). The hanging scroll is one of four works on offer from the Ching Yuan Chai Collection, which was put together over the course of three decades by Professor James Cahill, a renowned authority in the field of Chinese paintings.
Eagle Perching on the Pine is a superb example of one of the signature themes of the great 20th century master Qi Baishi (Lot 700, est. $1.2/1.5 million). The subject matter is one of the artist’s most beloved. The pine tree represents longevity, while the eagle signifies heroism. Qi Baishi dedicated this painting to a Guomingtang official who was stationed in Beijing in 1946, and the work has remained in the family ever.