“Five Drunken Kings Return on Horses” – sold for US$44m

Five Drunken Kings Return on Horses, a 2-metre-long hand scroll by Ren Renfa, was sold at a Beijing Auction for US$44m (303 million yuan) earlier this week, a record for the highest paid Chinese artwork sold at auction in 2016. Ren Renfa was a prominent painter of horses and also a high-ranking official in charge of water controls in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). The painting exemplifies Ren’s technical mastery of portraying animals and figures. It was cataloged in an inventory of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)’s imperial collections but was later transported abroad and acquired by Walter Hochstadter (1914-2007), a German-born collector, and last sold at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong in 2009.

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