It took four days, involved more than 2,000 works of art and the allure of imperial treasures, but when it was all over Christie's spring auction easily entered the record books as the highest-grossing sale of its kind in Asia's history. When the event ended on Wednesday, auctioneers had slammed the gavel on $990.5 million of sales - 41 per cent higher than the forecast of $700 million. 'These sales have set a new record total for any series of auctions in Asia,' said Edward Dolman, chief executive of Christie's International. 'We look forward to returning.' Christie's held the previous auction record for its autumn sale last year, which totalled $715.3 million. This year's sale set another first: during the first two days it sold $698 million worth of exclusively Asian art, a global record for Asian works at auction. Included was a record $18 million - the highest paid for a Chinese oil paining - for Zhao Wuji's huge modern masterpiece Juin-Octobre 85. In the imperial sale on Monday, a Ming-era blue-and-white basin from the Yongle period fetched nearly $30.4 million. The previous record was $13 million. Deer in an Autumn Forest by 16th century Italian artist Giuseppe Castiglione was bought for nearly $20.3 million, a record for the artist. Castiglione was the court painter to three Qing emperors.