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October 22, 2009

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Color this Ferrari celadon green

IMAGINE a Ferrari that isn't Ferrari red, vibrant yellow or black, but the color of light green jade, a pale celadon with a crackle finish.

The idea came to Lu Hao, an established contemporary Chinese artist, when the Italian luxury sports car manufacturer asked him to create a one-of-a-kind car with distinct elements reflecting China's long history and rich culture.

Six months later, he produced his car, one-of-a-kind and hand-painted to reproduce the subtle crackle glaze of celadon.

The Ferrari will be auctioned in Beijing on November 3 in a charity event. The starting price is 3.29 million yuan (US$481,493).

Part of the proceeds will help fund an educational sponsorship program for Chinese students studying automotive engineering and design.

"The car is a perfect blend of automotive technology and Chinese art, making it one of the most appealing cars for collectors worldwide," says Andreas Deges, marketing director of Ferrari China.

It is the first time a Chinese contemporary artist has decorated a luxury car.

Artist Lu drew inspiration from the Ge Kiln porcelain of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), known for its exquisite cracked glaze patterns, and the Silk Road. Only a few hundred pieces of Ge Kiln porcelain exist today, all of them priceless.

"I wanted to choose a simple pattern, otherwise people would pay too much attention to the pattern instead of the car," Lu explains. "Though the pattern is simple, I believe it will spark curiosity to explore the stories behind it."

The interior features a jade ignition button and a gold RPM gauge, with numbers one to 10 written in Xiaozhuan Script, China's first standardized script.

The vehicle comes with a special luggage set inscribed with an image inspired by the Silk Road, which once ran from western China to Venice, Italy, and was the road that took Marco Polo to China.

"I really hope that the car could be sold to a Chinese," Lu says. "So when he drives, he could feel pride in being a Chinese."


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