Private Collections

Our guide in Shanghai gave the best description as to what happened to private collections during the Cultural Revolution when the Red Guards came to smash them up.   Some collectors apparently gave works to the national museums.   Some found hiding places.   According to Linda Jaivin’s Beijing, ‘Many people burned precious artworks in their personal possession rather than see them destroyed by Red Guards and be beaten for having them as well’.   But many collectors apparently held yard sales, whereby works were sold off cheaply, and hence were distributed widely in order to ensure their preservation.   They are apparently now coming back onto the market.   It is a topic which people don’t like talking about.

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