Billionaire Liu Pays Record $45 Million for Thangka

Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian purchased a Tibetan tapestry for HK$348 million ($45 million) at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong today, breaking the record for the most expensive Chinese work of art he set in April.

Liu, who bought a HK$214 million Chengua-era ceramic cup -- nicknamed the Chicken Cup for its imperial allegorical depiction using poultry -- and then paid for it with his Centurion credit card at Sotheby’s, plans to show both works in his private Shanghai museum.

“I am proud to bring back to China this significant and historic 15th century thangka which will be preserved in the Long Museum for years to come,” he said by phone according to a Christie’s press release.

The embroidered 15th century silk thangka, a tapestry depicting Buddhist deities, measures 132 inches by 84 inches (3.35 meters by 2.1 meters) and was valued at HK$80 million before the auction.

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