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China Takes Lead in World Art, Collectables Market

China has overtaken the United States as the biggest auction market for art and collectable objects, after its sales more than doubled in just one year, according to research made public on Thursday.

A report for the Conseil des Ventes Volontaires (CVV, the French Auction Market Authority) said sales in China, including Hong Kong, grew 137 percent in 2010 to 7.6 billion Euros (10.8 billion dollars).

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Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum Closing 6 Months for Renovations

The Van Gogh Museum says it is shutting its doors for six months for renovations starting next year, the latest major Dutch museum to close for reconstruction.

Director Axel Rueger said Friday the museum's most important paintings will move to the Hermitage Amsterdam so they can still be viewed during the work, scheduled to last from October 2012 through March 2013.

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Egypt to Restore Ancient Boat Found Near Pyramid

Archaeologists have begun excavating a 4,500-year-old wooden boat found next to the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of Egypt's main tourist attractions, Egypt's top antiquities official said Thursday.

The boat is one of two buried next to the pharaoh Khufu in what appeared to be a religious custom to carry him in the afterlife. Khufu, also known as Cheops, is credited with building the Great Pyramid of Giza.

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Schiele Painting Goes for Record £25 Million at London Sale

A monumental cityscape painting by Austrian artist Egon Schiele on Wednesday smashed the world record after it was sold for £25 million at a London auction.

"Haeuser mit bunter Wasche (Vorstadt II)" (Houses with Laundry (Suburb II)) eventually went under the hammer at Sotheby's auction house for £24,681,250 ($40 million, 27.6 million Euros), almost double the previous auction record for the artist.

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Lost Property Art: London's Forgotten Works on Show

They share little in terms of style and quality but the works in a new London art exhibition have one thing in common-- they were all left in taxis, buses or on the train and never claimed.

"The Lost Collection", as it's called, is drawn from the Ali Baba-style store rooms of the Transport for London (TfL), which runs the capital's transport network.

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For a Week, Jerusalem's Old City Lightens Up

When night falls on the Old City of Jerusalem this week, the walled enclave sheds its role as one of the world's most contested pieces of real estate to become a luminous carnival of art installations and performances.

Jerusalem's Festival of Lights, now in its third year, illuminates an area known more for religious friction and clashing political claims than for art or nightlife. Most nights, the Old City's stone alleyways are dimly lit, peopled mainly by small numbers of tourists, Palestinian merchants and children, and ultra-Orthodox Jews headed to or from religious studies or prayers.

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Brazil Government Identifies Uncontacted Tribe

The Brazilian government confirmed this week the existence of an uncontacted tribe in a southwestern area of the Amazon rain forest.

Three large clearings in the area had been identified by satellite, but the population's existence was only verified after airplane expeditions in April gathered more data, the National Indian Foundation said in a news release Monday.

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Tango Haven Argentina Laments Accordion Shortage

The bandoneon, a type of concertina and symbol of tango's nostalgic soul, is vanishing from Argentina, as foreign tourists with bulging wallets buy up the instruments as coveted collectibles.

"In a few years, there will be no more bandoneons in our country," said Oscar Fischer, who heads La Casa del Bandoneon. A specialist in these accordion-like instruments, he keeps a workshop in Buenos Aires's old quarter of San Telmo.

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Van Gogh's "Self-Portrait" Actually His Brother

Art researchers at Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum said Tuesday they have "discovered" a work by Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh -- long thought to have been a self-portrait -- was in fact a picture of his younger brother Theo.

"According to current opinion, Vincent van Gogh never painted his brother Theo, on whom he was dependent," the Van Gogh Museum said in a statement.

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Islamic Make-Over for Pakistan Bus Stops

Pakistan is decorating bus stops with Koranic verses and Islamic calligraphy to give a more spiritual flavor to the capital Islamabad, long considered one of the country's most liberal cities.

The Capital Development Authority (CDA) plans to roll out 100 new bus shelters -- known locally as sunshades -- painted with flowers and religious verses to spruce up the 1960s purpose-built capital.

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