Associated Press

Beijing, May 16:

A Chinese stringed instrument — or “guqin” — crafted from wood and jade 700 years ago and renowned for its haunting tone sold for $465,000 today, an auction house official said.

Prices for Chinese antiquities have soared amid surging prosperity and a reawakened interest in the country’s classical past. A record was set in November, when a 1,250-year-old guqin sold in Beijing for $1.07 million. The 700-year-old guqin auctioned today is called “chanting dragon, roaring tiger.” It sold for $465,000, said a staff member at the Rongbao Auction House who refused to give his name.

He also declined to provide details about the buyer, who he said prefers to remain anonymous. A report in Friday’s China Daily newspaper ahead of the auction said the instrument was believed to have been made by famed artist Zhao Mengfu, who lived from 1254 to 1322. It “emits a crystal sound like the clinking of jades” when plucked, the newspaper said. It is made of wood from the Chinese parasol tree that has holes bored by insects and is inlaid with jade, the report said.