Qianlong emperor's painting makes $3.4m in Hong Kong

Sotheby's auction of Chinese art from the collection of one of Japan's most prominent noble families has seen strong bids for a hand scroll painted by the Qianlong emperor.

Qianlong scroll painting
The Qianlong Emperor loved the arts, and would spend much of his day reading, painting or enjoying his collection



The scroll dates to 1746 and bears a jade fastener incised with "pavilion among autumn mountains in the imperial hand of the Qialong emperor".

It sold for $3.4m, making a 350% increase on its $773,500 high estimate.

The collection comes from the Hosokawa clan, which traces its lineage to the 14th century warrior Hosokawa Yoriari (1332-1391), who fought alongside the first shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate.

It includes more than 80,000 items, with 700 years of collectibles including furniture, scrolls, books and ceramics, as well are arms and armour. Eight of those items, displayed in Japan's Eisei Archive, have been deemed national treasures.


A scholar of the arts, Qianlong would spend hours recreating works in order to learn more about them

Also from the Qianlong emperor was his personal copy of the calligraphy of Mi Fu, a master of the art who lived between 1051 and 1107. His brushwork was praised as "like masts in the wind, like warhorses in formation, solemn and unimpeded."

Known as one of the Four Treasures of the Qianlong Emperor, it sold for $2m - up 421.3% on its $386,790 estimate.

Qianlong emulated four such masterworks, two of which are written in the style of Mi Fu. All four have been in the Hosokawa collection until now and have passed through some of the most prominent collections of Chinese art.

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