Shanghai art collector Liu Yiqian stirred the internet pot after sipping tea from that $36-million, Ming Dynasty chicken cup he won at a Sotheby’s Auction in HK several months back. However, Liu thinks the reaction might be a ‘storm in a tea cup.’ WSJ reports:
Images of Mr. Liu sipping from the cup circulated over the Internet this weekend, sparking fast condemnation from Chinese observers online. “You think you can drink it and become immortal? Or that it will extend your life? In fact, isn’t it just a way to satisfy your vanity?” wrote one Weibo user.
“Sigh, Chinese people are just like this,” opined another: “No people who are civilized would treat a cultural treasure like this. No wonder Chinese people are looked down on by other countries’ citizens.”
On Monday, Mr. Liu told China Real Time that he wasn’t trying to show off his wealth. “It happened when I was paying,” said Mr. Liu, who made his fortune in finance. “A Sotheby’s staffer poured me some tea. I saw the [chicken cup] and excitedly poured some of that tea into the cup and drank a little,” he said. “Such a simple thing—what’s so crazy about that?”
Chalk up another win for the China’s nouveau riche!
Let’s just hope Liu doesn’t get his hands on the Dead Sea Scrolls, lest he use them as toilet paper.