Su Shi's Gong Fu Tie Calligraphy makes $8.2m

A work by medieval artist Su Shi (1037-1101) titled The Gong Fu Tie Calligraphy made $8.2m at Sotheby's auction of Classical Chinese Painting and Calligraphy in New York yesterday (September 19).

In doing so, the work acheived an increase of 1,545% on its $300,000-500,000 valuation.

The Gong Fu Tie Calligraphy, just nine characters long, has been described as one of the finest examples of calligraphy ever produced and has been studied by scholars for centuries.  

Gong Fu Tie Calligraphy
The calligraphy reads: "Su Shi respectfully bids farewell to Gongfu, Gentleman Court Consultant."

Su Shi is a figure comparable with the great Renaissance masters in Chinese culture, and manuscripts attributed to him are among the nation's most sought after treasures.

The Gong Fu Tie Calligraphy was the highest grossing individual lot of Sotheby's Asia Week sales - which brought in a total of $74.0m for the house.

Rongde Zhang, head of Sotheby's Chinese classical paintings department in New York, commented: "The sale of The Gong Fu Tie Calligraphy for $8.2 million will be remembered as a landmark in this auction category. Six collectors from the US and different parts of Asia competed for the piece demonstrating the amazing power of Su Shi nearly 1,000 years after his life."

More information on the Asia Week sales can be found here.

A painting by Bada Shanren titled Studio of Autumn Mountain also performed impressively - selling for $2.4m against an estimate of $300,000-500,000. Shanren was a Ming dynasty nobleman and noted painter. His work is easily identified by his unique brushstrokes.

Another work by Shanren, titled Pine Tree and Rock, made $845,000 - towards the higher end of its $700,000-900,000 estimate.

Other lots at the auction sold well, mostly notably a 13th century scroll that achieved a total of $965,000 - comfortably within its $800,000-1.2m estimate.

The scroll, which is the work of an anonymous artist, depicts a pair of pine trees standing on a knoll and has been identified as originating from the transitional period between the Song and Yuan dynasties in the 13th century.

The auction achieved total sales of $31.3m.

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