Chinese artist's 'Last Supper' sets record for Asian contemporary art
October 6, 2013 -- Updated 0726 GMT (1526 HKT)
Zeng Fanzhi's The Last Supper scored an auction record for Asian contemporary art.
- Oil painting recreating "The Last Supper" sets record for Asian contemporary art
- Zeng Fanzhi's take on Da Vinci work shows young communists with red neckties
- Painting sold for $23.3 million
(CNN) -- An oil painting by Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi has sold for $23.3 million at an auction in Hong Kong - a record price for Asian contemporary art.
The 4-meter wide painting was sold to a private collector, who wanted to remain anonymous, after 15 minutes of tense telephone bidding at an evening auction held by auction giant Sotheby's on Saturday. Bidding started at $9 million.
The 2001 work is a recreation of "The Last Supper" by Italian master Leonardo Da Vinci, which depicts the last meal between Jesus and the 12 disciples when Jesus foretold his betrayal by Judas.
In Zeng's work, the religious figures have been replaced by young communists with red neckties. The figure replacing Judas wears a western-style yellow tie - symbolizing China's move toward capitalism, said Evelyn Lin, Sotheby's head of contemporary Asian art.
"The painting represents a transformative period in Chinese society," she said.
Lin said the sale showed the market for Chinese art, which slowed significantly in 2012, was "very healthy."
The previous record for a work by an Asian contemporary artist was a sculpture by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami that sold for $15 million in New York in 2008.
The painting was sold by Swiss collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens de Schooten. They bought the work from a Beijing gallery in 2002.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 2014 GMT (0414 HKT)
Despite China's inexorable economic rise, the U.S. is still an indispensable ally, especially in Asia. No one knows this more than the Asian giant's leaders, writes Kerry Brown.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 2359 GMT (0759 HKT)
The new U.S. deal with China on greenhouse gases faces enormous challenges in both countries. Jonathan Mann explains.
November 13, 2014 -- Updated 0338 GMT (1138 HKT)
For the United States and China to announce a plan reducing carbon emissions by almost a third by the year 2030 is a watershed moment for climate politics on so many fronts.
November 17, 2014 -- Updated 2026 GMT (0426 HKT)
China shows off its new stealth fighter jet, but did it steal the design from an American company? Brian Todd reports.
November 11, 2014 -- Updated 0101 GMT (0901 HKT)
Airshow China in Zhuhai provides a rare glimpse of China's military and commercial aviation hardware.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
A new exchange initiative aims to bridge relations between the two countries .
November 11, 2014 -- Updated 0551 GMT (1351 HKT)
Xi and Abe's brief summit featured all the enthusiasm of two unhappy schoolboys forced to make up after a schoolyard dust-up.
November 11, 2014 -- Updated 0112 GMT (0912 HKT)
Maybe you've decided to show your partner love with a new iPhone. But how about 99 of them?
November 3, 2014 -- Updated 0219 GMT (1019 HKT)
Can China's Muslim minority fit in? One school is at the heart of an ambitious experiment to assimilate China's Uyghurs.
November 4, 2014 -- Updated 1455 GMT (2255 HKT)
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is one of thousands of Americans learning Chinese.
November 4, 2014 -- Updated 0500 GMT (1300 HKT)
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou says he needs to maintain good economic ties with China while trying to keep Beijing's push for reunification at bay.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0528 GMT (1328 HKT)
Chinese drone-maker DJI wants to make aerial photography drones mainstream despite concerns about privacy.
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 0518 GMT (1318 HKT)
A top retired general confesses to taking bribes, becoming the highest-profile figure in China's military to be caught up in war on corruption.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0242 GMT (1042 HKT)
China sends an unmanned spacecraft to the moon and back but is country following an outdated recipe for superpower status?
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1619 GMT (0019 HKT)
Full marks for ingenuity: Students employ high-tech gadgets worthy of a spy movie to pass national exam.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0526 GMT (1326 HKT)
Confucius Institutes seek to promote Chinese language and culture but some have accused them of "cultural imperialism."
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1511 GMT (2311 HKT)
Smooth jazz saxophonist Kenny G wants everyone to know that he's not a foreign agitator trying to defy the Chinese Communist Party.