Chinese scroll fragments reunited

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Hong Kong buyer reportedly secures both pieces for €1.9m at Bordeaux auction

By Claudia Barbieri Childs. Web only
Published online: 13 March 2014

A detail of the first fragment of the Chinese scroll, which sold for €1.2m (est €400,000-€600,000)

The Bordeaux auction house Briscadieu sold two fragments of a Chinese scroll on 8 March, almost doubling their pre-sale estimates. The fragments were cut from a scroll commissioned by the emperor Kangxi (1661-1722) and painted by the court painter Wang Hui, as part of a 12-roll series that chronicled an imperial expedition into Southern China.

The first fragment, estimated at €400,000-€600,000, sold for €1.2m and the second, estimated at €350,000-€500,000 sold at €720,000. Both went to the same Hong Kong buyer according to local sources. The auction house’s expert Philippe Delalande would not confirm this but said both pieces went to telephone bidders from Asia.

Delalande said the whole 22-metres-long scroll was originally bought intact by a French collector in 1910. It was later divided into four pieces and then cut up by successive heirs for inheritance purposes. Although most of the pieces have been tracked down, the whereabouts of two segments, measuring around three metres together, are unknown.

Alain Briscadieu sold another part of the same scroll in 2013 for €3.3m while in 2011 a complete scroll, from the Qianlong emperor’s reign (1736-1795), sold for a massive €22m at the Toulouse auction house Labarbe.

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