A spectacular zitan wood cabinet that was once part of the legendary collection of the Qianlong emperor (1711-1799) has become the world's most valuable item of Chinese furniture, in Beijing.
The rare cabinet crossed the block on June 5, realising an impressive $15.2m. The previous record was held by the Qianlong emperor's zitan wood dragon throne, which sold for $11m at Sotheby's in 2009.
The price achieved in Beijing represents a 38.1% increase on the previous price, showing the ever-increasing value of high-end Chinese collectibles.
Zitan is a sought-after dark tropical wood that was reserved for the emperor's use only.
"This is a unique piece of imperial furniture. It would have been placed beside the throne of the emperor and was probably part of a pair," commented Poly Auctions' antiques manager, Li Yizhou.
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