Chinese calligraphy paintings sell for record US$144 mln
A collection of 12 calligraphy landscape paintings by Chinese ink-brush master artist Qi Baishi fetched 931.5 million yuan (144 million US dollars) at a Beijing auction on Sunday night.
The price set a new global record for Chinese artworks sold at auction.
Qi created the "Twelve Landscape Screens" in 1925, each of which contains an elegant, natural scene. The paintings are framed separately in 1.8-meter long vertical frames.
Twelve Landscape Screens /Photo via

Twelve Landscape Screens /Photo via

Qi was inspired by the natural brilliance he encountered during his extensive travels across the country, but his images are tinged with a sense of  homesickness, which he had for his native home village in central China's Hunan Province.
He later gave this painting to Chen Zilin, a friend and famous doctor in Beijing at the time. It later became part of various private collections.
The initial bidding price was set at 450 million yuan but after 57 rounds of fierce bidding, a telephone buyer ended the call with 810 million yuan, and the final price was settled at 931.5 million yuan with commission fees. The buyer's identity has not been revealed.
The price also made Qi the first Chinese artist whose work has been sold for more than 100 million US dollars at auction.
Qi Baishi (1864-1957) /Photo via

Qi Baishi (1864-1957) /Photo via

Who is Qi Baishi?
Qi Baishi was born to a peasant family in Xiangtan, Hunan Province in 1864. He became a carpenter at 14 and learned to paint by himself.
He began to travel across the country at the age of 40 and settled in Beijing at 57 in 1917.
Qi is noted for the whimsical, often playful style of his watercolor works. The subjects of his paintings include almost everything: Animals, scenery, figures, toys, vegetables, and much more.
He was also good at seal carving and called himself "the rich man of three hundred stone seals."
He was elected president of the China Artists Association in 1953.
He died in Beijing in 1957 at the age of 93.