Painting auctioned as an important cultural asset

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A painted hand scroll from the Kamakura period (1185-1333), registered with the government as a major cultural asset, fetched 243.9 million yen ($ 2.13 million) in a rare auction in Tokyo.

Selling, buying, or auctioning an item designated as a national treasure or an important cultural asset is not prohibited, but a government official said buying this work was highly unusual.

“The auction of a painting registered as a national treasure or an important cultural asset is unknown,” said an official from the Bureau of Cultural Affairs.

The important cultural asset that was auctioned off at the auction by New Art Est-Ouest Auctions Co., based in Tokyo on November 18, is called “Shihonchakushoku Shuikotokuden Volume 8”.

It shows the deathbed of Honen, the founder of the Pure Land School of Buddhism. It measures about 16 meters in length and is about 39 centimeters wide and belongs to a person living in Japan.

The name of the successful bidder was not published.

The Law on the Protection of Cultural Property provides that the sale of a national treasure or an important cultural property must notify the government of the name of the buyer and the proposed sale price before signing a formal contract.

The government can intervene and, before anyone else, acquire a national treasure or an important cultural asset, a right to which it is entitled to protect important cultural assets. If the state does not buy the national treasure or important cultural asset, its owner can sell it to someone else.


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