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Rare Song paintings in auction preview
By Wang Jie

Two rare paintings from the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) will appear in Shanghai at the preview of the Beijing Poly Autumn Auction tomorrow and Thursday.

The two paintings were created by Ma Yuan (1140-1225), a painter at the royal art academy. Each painting has an estimated value of 18 to 38 million yuan (US$2.95-6.24 million). Ma is especially known for his elegant style and intricate brushwork.

Traditional ink-wash paintings from the Southern Song Dynasty are quite rare in the market, as many of them have already been purchased by big museums around the world.

For example, today most existing paintings created by Ma are mainly collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

These two paintings were purchased by EA Strehlneek, a British antiques dealer in Shanghai, and later were moved to the West with a clear provenance.

Another spotlight at the preview is the ink-wash painting titled “Vibrant Grassland” painted by Huang Zhou in 1981.

The original painting has been permanently showcased at the Diaoyutai State Guest House. Because of its daunting size of 142cm by 360cm plus superb painting skill, Armand Hammer, the famous American entrepreneur, was attracted by the painting during his meeting with Chinese leaders in the early 1980s. So Huang created a similar painting later sent to Hammer as a diplomatic gift by Deng Xiaoping. In return, Hammer sent the well-known painting titled “Two Bridges,” created by Chen Yifei, to Deng in 1985.

To welcome the coming Chinese zodiac year — the Year of the Horse, the Poly Auction House also is displaying a cluster of horse paintings created by Xu Beihong (1895-1953), noted for his vivid depiction of horses. Xu is also widely considered a founder of Chinese modern art, an outstanding artist and educator.

Besides these famous paintings, nearly 13,000 artworks ranging from ancient to modern ink-wash paintings, ancient books, antiques, jewelry and watches will be auctioned at the Beijing Poly Autumn Auction House at the Four Seasons Hotel Beijing from November 30 to December 6.

• Preview in Shanghai

Date: November 20-21, 9am-6pm

Venue: Yan’an Hotel, 1111 Yan’an Rd M.

• Preview in Beijing

Date: November 29, 9am-6pm

Venue: 16 Dongsanhuan Rd N., Chaoyang District,

• Auction in Beijing

Date: November 30-December 6, 9am

Venue: Four Seasons Hotel Beijing, 48 Liangmaqiao Rd

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