Chinese Qianlong zitan cabinet realises $15.2m record in Beijing

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.

Chinese Qianlong zitan cabinet
The previous record was held by the Qianlong emperor's throne, which the cabinet sat next to in his palace


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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