François Xavier Tourte (1748 – 1835) is probably the most important figure in the history of modern bow making. As the true author of the modern bow, François Xavier Tourte established the standard length, weight and models of modern bows and revolutionized the history of French bow making. On Nov. 30, 2017, a violin bow by François Xavier Tourte was sold by The Vichy Enchères auction house in France to the Yu Art Foundation.
An extremely rare and precious piece of Tourte bow, it is an entirely new one that has never been used until now, just like the Stradivari violin ‘Messiah’. The bow, described in the auction catalogue as ‘exceptional’ is 56g, silver mounted with all original parts and is in ‘new’ condition apart from some small chips to the ebony frog.
The bow is regarded as a national treasure by the French government and had once been banned from being auctioned or exported. Only after the arduous negotiation between the auction house and the government could the bow be sold at last. After fierce competition during the sales, the bow fetched €576,600 including fees (hammer price €465,000), breaking the record for the Tourte silver bow - a huge increase on the previous record of $288,960 set by Beares Auctions in 2015. Till now, both the quality and quantity of the Tourte bow collection of the Yu Art Foundation rank the first in Asia.