700-year-old Chinese scroll sells for USD41.8M in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (AP) — A 700-year-old Chinese painted scroll from the Yuan Dynasty fetched HKD306.6 million (USD41.8 million) at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong.

The 6.6-feet scroll is by Ren Renfa, a renowned Chinese artist and government official.

The painting depicts the princes riding horses, together with four attendants. One of the princes is Li Longji, who later became the longest-reigning Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty.

The scroll has been documented in imperial collections and bears a collection of seals, including those of several emperors. In 1922, the scroll was transported out of the Forbidden City by Pu Yi, the last emperor of China, after the fall of Qing Dynasty.

The artwork was initially estimated to sell between about USD10 million and USD15.5 million. Many of Ren’s 21 paintings are held in museums or owned by private collectors.

“This painting depicts the story of the five princes after they had an outing,” said a specialist of classical Chinese paintings at Sotheby’s Sally Fong.

“Among the five princes, one of them is the future emperor. In this painting, we can see that he was depicted as the one who can lead the others to go back home together.”

A Sotheby’s employee presents the Chinese scroll from the period of Chinese Yuan Dynasty by Ren Renfa during a media preview in Hong Kong on Wednesday. PHOTO: AP