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13th century Chinese scroll leads Sotheby's auction with $1.2m high estimate

A 13th century scroll is the star of Sotheby's sale of fine classical Chinese painting and calligraphy



A 13th century hanging scroll is the highlight of Sotheby's September 19 sale of fine classical Chinese painting and calligraphy, with an estimate of $800,000-1.2m.

The scroll depicts a pair of pine trees standing on a knoll and has been identified as originating from the transitional period between the Song and Yuan dynasties in the 13th century - although the artist remains unknown.

The painting was discovered in Japan, and a seal on the bottom right corner identifies it as the property of Zenna - an assistant to 15th century Japanese ruler Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa.

Anonymous Calligraphy Sotheby's
Although the artist is unknown, the painting has been dated to the 13th century

The New York auction also features a work by Bada Shanren with a high estimate of $900,000. Shanren was a 17th century Chinese noble and leading Ming dynasty painter.

His work is easily discernible by his sharp brush strokes - which are attributed to the sideways manner in which he held his brush.

In previous years, work by Shanren has sold for large sums. In 2008, a painting titled Two Mynas on a Rock made $2.9m at Sotheby's New York - a record price for a piece of Chinese art in the US.

More recent Chinese artists are also represented - Zang Daqian's A Brewing Storm in the Summer Mountains dates from 1965 and comes with a $200,000-250,000 estimate.

Admired as one of China's best-known and most prestigious artists, Daqian is also regarded by experts as one of the most gifted master forgers of the 20th century. His copies of ancient Chinese works have been purchased by several high profile museums in the US.

In May of this year a set of scrolls by Daqian depicting lotuses sold for $10.4m at Christie's Hong Kong - a 436.7% increase on its $1.9m top estimate. The record price for the artist remains $24.6m for Lotus and Mandarin Ducks, a single scroll.

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Images: Sotheby's

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Last updated: 12 September 2013