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Sotheby’s cancels $1.6m sale after Buddhist nun disputes of ownership

Sotheby’s auction house which recently established its China presence had to cancel a sale of the painting ‘Riding in the Autumn Countryside’ after there was a dispute of its ownership by a Taiwanese Buddhist nun. The painting, which was made by one of the top selling Chinese artists, Zhang Daqian in 1950 had to be cancelled at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong that involved 325 artworks.

The painting was supposed to be one of the top billing paintings to have come under the hammer which was supposed to bring in a total of US$22million of some very fine Chinese art. According to Sotheby’s they could not resolve the issue of the ownership and an agreement could be reached between the claimant and consignor after Lu Chieh-chien, the Taiwanese Buddhist nun filed a write at the Hong Kong High Court claiming ownership of the piece of artwork made by the world’s number one artist ranked by auction revenue by Artprice. The nun said that the painting was given to her late father who was a close friend of Zhang who then passed it to her at her wedding. When she became a Buddhist nun, she passed it to her brother. Her brother had then instructed an employee for safe-keeping and that was the last they ever saw it.