Qianlong emperor calligraphy scrolls make $18.9m in Beijing

A set of calligraphy scrolls created by the Qianlong emperor, China's renowned patron of the arts, have sold at Poly International Auction in Beijing with stunning results.

The Qianlong emperor created hundreds of scrolls, though complete sets on the same subject are rare

The scrolls picked up bids of $18.9m at the December 2 auction, marking one of the highest sales of Chinese painting or calligraphy this year.

Created following the emperor's visit to Baita Mountain in Beijing in 1773, the four scrolls show varying views of the mountain's sides. They were once housed at Yong'an Temple on the Baita Mountain and were later bought by private collectors.

Having been separated, this is the first time the scrolls have been brought together in decades, although one scroll depicting the east side of the mountain is now missing.

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