17th century Chinese handscroll beats estimate by 59%

An important Chinese 17th century handscroll realised $9.5m at Sotheby's New York on September 14.

It soared past its $6m estimate by 59%.

Kangxi emperor tour
Wang Hui's painting documents the Kangxi emperor's tour of Southern China

Titled The Kangxi Emperor's Southern Inspection Tour (1689), the work documents a journey the emperor made to oversee efforts to control flooding along the Grand Canal.

It originally consisted of 12 separate handscrolls and took creator Wang Hui (1632-1717) and his assistants an incredible seven years to complete.

This is just one section of handscroll six.

The others are housed in various museums around the world, with the exception of handscrolls five and eight, which are believed lost.

Shen Zhou's poem Enjoying the Mid-Autumn Moon in the Bamboo Villa sold for $2.1m.

Shen Zhou (1427-1509) was a pioneering figure in Chinese literature.

This work was painted on the eve of a Mid-Autumn festival and relates a pleasant evening spent eating and drinking with friends.

Rongde Zhang, Sotheby's head of sale, explained the collection's importance: "Roy and Marilyn Papp had immense foresight assembling their extensive collection of Chinese paintings in the 1970s and 1980s, far before much of the rest of the world began researching and appreciating the field.

Fueled by their passion and dedication, this comprehensive overview of works from the Ming and Qing Dynasty includes a tremendous range of artists, exploring a variety of themes."

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