CHINA / Regional

Historic Mao Zedong portrait for sale
Updated: 2006-05-18 14:37

A painting of China's founding leader, Mao Zedong, that was used as a model for portraits hung above Beijing's Tiananmen Rostrum in the 1950s and 1960s will be sold at auction June 3, an auction house said Thursday.

Workers display the portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong at an auction preview in Beijing May 17, 2006. [Xinhua]

The painting is expected to bring 1-1.2 million yuan (US$120,000-US$150,000) at the sale, which is open to both Chinese and foreign bidders, said Mei Ligang, a spokesman for Beijing Huachen Auctions.

The 91-by-68-centimeter (36-by-27-inch) picture, known as a "mother copy," was used by artists who painted Mao portraits that hung on the Tiananmen Gate, Mei said. He said the painting for sale never hung above the square, while copies that did have been lost.

The painting belonged to a private collector who decided to sell it, Mei said.

Thousands of portraits and statues of Mao were once displayed publicly throughout China. And his portrait remains on the Tiananmen Gate.

Mei said the buyer of the Mao portrait will be free to take it out of the country.

Such political memorabilia has attracted high prices from newly rich Chinese collectors in recent years.

At the auction, more than 1,000 pieces of Chinese paintings, oils, porcelains and jadeware will be go under the hammer.