Tang Yin's Playing the Zither could sell for $1.8m

Playing the Zither by Tang Yin could make $1.2m-1.8m in a March 16 Chinese art sale at Christie's New York.

Tang Yin (1470-1523) was a Ming dynasty era painter and poet.

Tang Yin Christies
Tang Yin is one of the Four Masters of the Ming Dynasty

He is regarded as one of the Four Masters of the Ming Dynasty and is a much loved figure in Chinese history, famed for his eccentricities as much as his exquisite work.

The present lot shows two men, one of who is playing the qin (or zither), and is likely a reference to the legendary figures Boya and Zhong Ziqi - who lived in the Warring States period (475-221 BC).

Christie's comments: "According to the legend Boya was an accomplished qin player. But it was not until he met the woodcutter Zhong Ziqi that he found a listener who truly understood his music.

"The two became fast friends, and when Zhong died, Boya broke his strings and refused to ever play again.

"The camaraderie of these two men is commemorated by the phrase zhi-yin, 'to know music', which is a metaphor for close friendship."

Huang Yongyu's Ink Lotus is also on offer with an estimate of $250,000-350,000.

Yongyu was born in 1924 and is still an active and venerable member of the Chinese art world. He recently designed a Year of the Monkey stamp that has proven hugely popular.  

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