Chinese imperial relics sold for $48 mn

Last Updated: Mar 27, 2011, 20:50 PM IST

Beijing: Two Chinese imperial art works that were reportedly stolen from the Forbidden City palace during an invasion in the 1900s have been sold for a staggering $48 million at an auction in France.

An imperial seal made of white jade that belonged to Emperor Qianlong (1736-95) sold for 12.4 million euros ($17.45 million) Saturday in Toulouse in southwest France, the China Daily reported.

A scroll painting was sold for 22.1 million euros ($31 million) also to an anonymous Chinese bidder. The 24-metre scroll depicts about 9,000 soldiers.

The jade seal, measuring 9.85 centimetres, with carvings of intertwined dragons, was among many used by Qianlong, the fourth emperor of the Qing Dynasty.

Both were bought by Chinese bidders who refused to be named.

The previous most-paid seal was one used by Emperor Kangxi (1661-1722), the grandfather of Qianlong.

Both of the artworks were reportedly looted from China`s Forbidden City - the imperial palace - in the 1900s during an invasion by Allied Forces from Britain, France, Germany, Russia, US, Japan, Italy and Austria.