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Chinese dam painting breaks price record

Written by: Staff

BEIJING, Nov 24 (Reuters) A painting of China's gigantic Three Gorges Dam and displaced farmers fetched a world record price for contemporary Chinese art at a Beijing auction, state media reported.

The painting by Liu Xiaodong sold for 22 million yuan (2.75 million dollars), the Xinhua news agency reported yesterday, adding that the price breezed past the old record of 1.47 million dollars set in New York three months before.

Liu's ten-by-three metre (9.8 by 32.8 feet) canvas may be oversized, but not compared to its subject -- the Yangtze River's 185-metre (607 feet) high, 2,309-metre (7,575 ft) long Three Gorges Dam, which has displaced over one million residents, some of them portrayed in the painting.

The dam, due for completion in 2009, has also shot past earlier price estimates and has been troubled by resettled farmers complaining of inadequate compensation.

The buyer at the Tuesday auction was ''a woman known only as the owner of a private business,'' Xinhua said. Wealthy Chinese are increasingly turning to modern art as a badge of sophisticated status.

Reuters SBA VP0446

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