China Guardian

Based on the Chinese mainland, the auction house China Guardian (China Guardian Auctions Co. Ltd) specialises in Chinese artwork. It is chiefly famous for its sales of Chinese ink paintings and calligraphy, which constitute about 60% of its sales volume.

China GuardianIn 2016, a letter auctioned out at China Guardian in Beijing broke the record for most expensive Chinese calligraphy by selling for 207 million yuan. This was an 124-character letter written and signed by Chinese scholar Zeng Gong in the 11th century. In the mid-1990s, the letter had been auctioned out at Christie’s in New York City where it went for slightly above 4.5 million yuan (approximately 500,000 USD).

China Guardian is headquartered in Beijing, with regional offices in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Further away, China Guardian is also present in Japan, Canada and the United States (New York City). It’s current manager is Hu Yanyan.

Since its foundation, more than 450,000 items have been sold at China Guardian’s auctions.

Examples of item types frequently sold at China Guardian:

  • Ink paintings
  • Calligraphy
  • Rubbings
  • Rare books
  • Porcelain
  • Sculptures
  • Jewellery
  • Watches
  • Antique furniture

Examples of famous China Guardian auctions

Item Auction Sales price
Qianlong edition of LantingTu in silks and gold thread 2004

Spring Auctions

Approximately 35 million yuan
Vase painted with patterns of eight immortals crossing the sea. Made during the time of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty 2006

Spring Auctions

Approximately 35 million yuan
Ping’an Tie by ancient Chinese calligrapher Wang Xizhi 2010

Autumn Auctions

308 million yuan
Ming Dynasty framed Huanghuali wood bed with six horseshoe legs and cloud clusters patterns. 2010

Autumn Auctions

Approximately 43 million yuan
Tang Dynasty Fuxi-style Chinese zither (a musical instrument) 2011

Spring Auctions

115 million yuan
The artwork “Pine and Cypress” by Qi Baishi 2011

Spring Auctions

Approximately 425 million yuan
The artwork “Album of Mountains and Rivers” by Qi Bashi CG’s Hong Kong Auction Approximately 6 million USD
The artwork “Tajik Bride” by Jin Shangyi



Autumn Auctions

Approximately 85 million yuan
A 124-character letter written by Zeng Gong in the 11th century.


CG’s Beijing Auction

in Spring 2016

207 million yuan


China Guardian auctionChina Guardian was formed in May 1993 and is thus the oldest auction house for art in China. It was founded by Chen Dongsheng, the man who also founded Taiking Life Insurance Co.

Until the mid-2000s, China Guardian was the major auction market for Chinese art, but it has since been overtaken by Beijing Poly International Auction Co Ltd.

Relationship with Sotheby’s

Data from 2016 shows that China Guardian at that point owned 24% of Taiking Life Insurance, a company which in turn owned 13.5% of the British auction house Sotheby’s.