April 6, 2016 / 8:48 PM / 3 years ago

Chinese imperial seal fetches $11.8 million at Hong Kong auction

A seal bearing the inscription "Revere Heaven and Serve thy People", carved for the Kangxi Emperor, is displayed by Sotheby's Asia Deputy Chairman Nicholas Chow at a preview in Hong Kong, China in this March 14, 2016 file photo. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

HONG KONG - An Asian buyer paid $11.8 million at auction for the largest imperial seal used by China’s longest reigning monarch, Emperor Kangxi, Sotheby’s said on Wednesday.

The winning bid for the seal is the third highest price paid for any Chinese imperial seal sold at auction. It also set a record for a seal carved for Emperor Kangxi, who ruled China from 1661 to 1722.

“The four characters on the base say ‘jingtian qinmin’, which means ‘revere heaven and serve thy people,’” said Nicolas Chow, Sotheby’s international head and chairman of Chinese works of art department.

“It really crystallizes the political theory in China whereby heaven bestows its power upon a ruler who is righteous and benevolent,” he added.

The auction concluded Sotheby’s spring sales. Christie’s with hold their auctions from May 27 to June 1.

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