$3.37m Qianlong cabinet stars at Sotheby's Paris Asian art auction

Sotheby's capped a strong year for its sales of Asian art with an estimate-smashing auction in Paris on December 15.

It brings Sotheby's Asian art sales in Paris to €30.5m for the year.

An 18th century Chinese cabinet featuring four carved zitan panels of dragons, from the reign of Emperor Qianlong, was the star of the show. It sold for €2.58m against a high-end estimate of €70,000.

The huge item has exquisite carving in a wood reserved exclusively for imperial use. The cabinet was discovered and identified in a French private collection.

A rare Qing dynasty Chinese porcelain tea-dust Hu vase, with gold highlights and a Qianlong hallmark (1736-95), achieved €960,750.

The sale totalled €12.45m against a pre-sale estimate of €6.5 to €9m, with 11 works achieving more than €500,000.

Sotheby's good showing in the Asian art sector has been replicated by its rivals this year.

Bonhams has added to its Asian art personnel in London, Edinburgh and Sydney to cope with "a time of great global demand for Asian art", according to its director of Asian art, Colin Sheaf.

Qianlong cabinet
The 18th century Chinese cabinet smashed its €70,000 estimate

Christie's announced that its sales of Asian art in the first half of the year were up 48% on the same period in 2010, to £296m.

The growing prosperity of China is a key factor in the buoyant Asian art market.

There are more than 960,000 millionaires in the country, with numbers up 9.7% in 2010 alone compared with the previous year, according to data from the Hurun Research Institute.

It is little wonder that among these growing numbers of millionaires exist aspirational collectors keen to see their country's rich artistic heritage return from overseas.

Paul Fraser Collectibles will keep you up to date on all the latest from the Asian art scene throughout the course of 2012.

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