An oil painting by late 20th century Chinese master Xu Beihong fetched a record 33 million yuan at auction in Beijing at the weekend, topping the more than HK$28 million paid earlier this year in Hong Kong for a work by Chang Yu . Hanhai Auction on Sunday opened bids for Xu's Yu Gong Yi Shan at 15 million yuan. Within five minutes the painting was snapped up by an unidentified mainland collector over the phone, the Beijing Morning Post reported. Xu died, aged 58, in 1953 and the auctioned painting is considered one of the prolific artist's masterpieces. It depicts a popular Chinese fable in which a foolish old man is determined to dig a road through mountains in front of his house. Li Zhong , a curator at the Xu Beihong Museum in Beijing, said the painting was actually a smaller finished study painted by Xu in the early 1940s before he painted a four-metre-long variation owned by the museum. Xu's family donated many of his works to the museum, including the larger Yu Gong Yi Shan, but many of his other paintings are in the hands of private collectors all over the world.