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The $ 65 million move joins the most expensive Chinese artwork in history

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Written by Oscar Holland, CNN

A rare 18th century scroll has become one of the most expensive Chinese works of art never for sale at auction.

The 61-foot-long work of art garnered 414 million yuan (nearly $ 65 million) when it was submitted to Beijing on Sunday.

The manual scroll is the work of Xu Yang, who was recruited as a court painter by Emperor Qianlong in the 1750s. It depicts scenes in Beijing during the aftermath of military campaigns to consolidate the emperor’s power in the West China, conflicts that would later form part of his so-called “Ten Great Campaigns.”

The scroll contains representations of various buildings in the heart of imperial Beijing.

The scroll contains representations of various buildings in the heart of imperial Beijing. Credit: Courtesy of Poly Auction

Although often titled “Establishing Western Regions and Presenting Prisoners,” Poly Auction, the Beijing-based auction house, was given the English name “Figure.”

The detailed manual scroll begins at Beijing’s Zhengyang Gate and passes through Tiananmen Square, with city residents represented alongside lines of guards and flag bearers. According to Poly Auction, the scene ends at the entrance to the Forbidden City where the artwork was mounted.

The artwork was commissioned by Emperor Qianlong to mark its success by stifling several revolts, including the destruction of the Dzungar Khanate, a nomadic empire that once covered parts of Central Asia and the present-day Chinese region of Xinjiang. .

The detailed manual scrolling is 61 feet long.

The detailed displacement is 61 feet long. Credit: Courtesy of Poly Auction

The handbook had previously broken the record for Chinese classical art auctions when it raised 134 million yuan ($ 21 million) in 2009, according to state media. It is now the third most expensive classical Chinese work that has ever happened under the hammer, a Poly Auction spokesman confirmed, with Wu Bin’s current record of “Ten Views of a Lingbi Rock” selling for 512.9 million yuan ($ 80 million) last year.
The roll depicts a scene in Beijing after military campaigns in western China.

The roll depicts a scene in Beijing after military campaigns in western China. Credit: Courtesy of Poly Auction

Hailing from Suzhou, a city west of Shanghai, Xu was known to represent key moments in imperial history and urban life in China, although his sense of perspective and figuration were influenced by the European art.

Permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art contains some of the 12 manual volumes that Xu produced to mark one of Emperor Qianlong’s famous tours of southern China.

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