Life-size $162,000 Ming dynasty horse expected to reign supreme at Duke's

It won't sit nicely on the mantelpiece, but a Ming dynasty stone horse could nevertheless be the perfect addition to your portfolio.

The seven-foot high nag, sculpted in China during the 14th or 15th century, is expected to make up to £100,000 when it comes to auction at Duke's Auctioneers, UK on July 29, according to the BBC.

Weighing in at more than two tonnes, the piece is thought to have been used in funeral processions in the Nianjing district of the country, and is said to be small by Ming standards.

Amy Brenan, from the auction house, told the BBC: "These horses were carved in southern China to line the routes to tombs. In northern China they tended to use camels.

"Many were uncovered during tomb excavations and were sold to the West."

It is one of six such horses exported by its previous owner from Hong Kong in the 1970s or 1980s.

It is thought the piece may have been originated from the burial site built by Zhu Yuan Zhang, the first Ming dynasty emperor, between 1386 and 1413. The site was excavated in the early 1980s.

A seven-foot Ming dynasty horse could make £100,000 next week

The auction house is expecting considerable interest from the growing number of wealthy Chinese collectors, whose passion for valuable pieces of art from their homeland appears insatiable.

"It is small by standards of some of these funerary sculptures and we don't know whose tomb it was made for," added Ms Brenan.

"However, it is an important object from the Ming dynasty and with the Chinese market so buoyant at present we are hoping for a good price."

A recent study for the French Auction Market Authority found that China, including Hong Kong, enjoyed a 34.3% share of global art sales in 2010.

We will let you know how the horse fares next week.


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