Chinese ink masterpieces fetching millions at Beijing auction

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Last week in Beijing, a fervor for Chinese ink paintings and calligraphy gripped collectors as a piece by esteemed calligrapher Zhao Mengfu commanded a staggering 92 million yuan ($12.7 million), while a work by painter Fu Baoshi was acquired for 82.8 million yuan.

During an exclusive event on the evening of May 23 hosted by China Guardian Auctions, over 110 exquisite calligraphy and painting pieces captivated buyers, resulting in a total transaction amount of 564.5 million yuan. Notably, 10 pieces by renowned artists, such as Qi Baishi, Zhang Daqian, Wu Guanzhong, and Huang Binhong, surpassed the 10 million yuan mark each.

A standout highlight was a set of three letters penned by the versatile Zhao Mengfu of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) to his acquaintances, showcasing his mastery of xingshu or running script and fetching an impressive 92 million yuan. Zhao, celebrated for his diverse calligraphy styles, stands as a monumental figure in Chinese art history, renowned for his elegant, fluid, and traditionally rooted yet uniquely personal calligraphic expressions.