Bonhams has announced that its Chinese Painting and Calligraphy auction, which will take place on March 20 in New York, will feature a beautiful miniature painting created for the Qianlong Emperor's (1722-1770) treasure box.
The piece was executed by Zhang Ruocheng, and will sell with a $10,000-15,000 estimate. It bears imperial seals as well as a colophon written by the emperor himself.
The artwork, which depicts a traditional mountainous landscape, is tiny in size, suggesting that it would have belonged in the imperial treasure box, which would also have contained antiques, paintings, porcelains and jades that the family could enjoy at any point.
It is housed in its own fitted, silk-lined box which is made from zitan, a type of wood prized by Chinese rulers that was reserved for use only in court commissions under the Qing dynasty.
A magnificent Qianlong porcelain vase - considered to be one of the finest ever made in China - was recently sold for $40m in a private deal.
Also featuring in the sale is a large-scale painting depicting a humorous scene with a scholar and his students, which has been consigned from the family of the last Vietnamese emperor, Bao Dai. Valued at $50,000-70,000, it is expected to provide the top lot of the auction.
Bonhams has previously sold several items from the collection of Bao Dai, including a 19th century imperial incense burner that was thought to have been gifted to the emperor by the Qing dynasty prior to his abdication. It sold for $288,601 in November 2012.
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