Imperial Portrait with Pearls Sells for $17Million

Chinese Imperial Portrait

Chinese Imperial Portrait

HONG KONG, Oct 8, 2015 — After 20 minutes of intense bidding an anonymous buyer purchased an imperial portrait of Chinese Emperor Qianlong's favourite consort for a record-breaking US$17.6 million (RM74.22 million) yesterday at Sotheby's.

A 27.68-carat sapphire and diamond ring known as the “Jewel of Kashmir” also sold for US$6.7 million and a necklace of 42 rare gray pearls was snapped up for $5.27 million at the Hong Kong auction.

The painting by Italian artist Giuseppe Castiglione is the only full-length ceremonial imperial portrait outside the collection of the Beijing Palace Museum, according to Nicholas Chow, Sotheby's deputy chairman, Asia.

“This is a record for Chinese imperial portraiture,” he said.

The ring, which was sold to a Hong Kong collector, fetched US$242,145 per carat, narrowly beating the previous world record of US$2,000 per carat.

The Cowdray Pearls single strand necklace, which once belonged to the British aristocrat Viscountess Cowdray, Lady Pearson, also set a world record price for natural gray pearls. It was last sold at auction in London in 2012 for US$3.35 million.

“Well, we must say we are very, very pleased that we got two new world record prices,” said Quek Chin Yeow, Sotheby's Asia chairman of international jewelry. — Reuters

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