A beautiful Chinese hanging scroll, which measures 69 x 29 inches and features the established Immortal and Lady design, is to auction online this afternoon (January 8). The signed and dated scroll carries a $12,000-18,000 presale estimate, testament to its age and condition, as well as to the high level of artistry it exhibits.
The tradition of depicting humans who have become immortal is an ancient Chinese artistic practice, which is thought to date as far back as the Han dynasty era, beginning in about 206 BC. Immortals are considered to bestow prosperity and good fortune onto those whom they consider worthy and are therefore popular figures, often seen as part of the decoration on wall hangings, vases and in literature.
The hanging scroll in question is attributed to the artist Ren Yi (Ren BaoNien 1810-1869). Hanging scrolls by other artists, such as Hongren's Qing Dynasty era Seclusion amid Mountains and Streams, have previously put in excellent performances at auction.
Hongren's scroll sold with a 300% increase on its pre-auction valuation for $3.2m at Sotheby's in September 2012, while a scroll entitled Tibetan Woman with Dogs by Zhang Daqian (the world's top selling artist of 2011) brought $6.2m in November 2012, confirming that the appetite for work by important Chinese artists remains strong.
China now has the world's third highest number of millionaires at 1.4m, having added 193,000 in the space of a year according to Boston Consulting Group's 2012 report on global wealth. Duly, Asian art collectibles continue to perform well, with China's passion for repatriating its artistic heritage being felt across the globe.
For more information on the market's potential for investment, visit Paul Fraser Collectibles' investing in art and photography page.