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Bruce Lee's iconic jumpsuit goes under the hammer

05 December 2013 [17:30] - TODAY.AZ
A yellow jumpsuit worn by martial arts legend Bruce Lee in one of his final fight scenes goes on sale in Hong Kong on Thursday.

Lee commissioned the famous outfit, which features black stripes, for the movie "Game of Death."

It's one of only two jumpsuits worn by Lee during filming, and has inspired tributes in popular culture ranging from Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" to the ninth video game in the "Grand Theft Auto" series.

The jumpsuit is one of 14 items in a collection of the actor's personal belongings and props expected to fetch at least HK$1 million (US$129,000) at the auction.

The sale marks the first time these pieces have been offered in Hong Kong, according to Anna Lee, vice-chairperson of Spink auction house, which is selling the items on behalf of an unnamed collector in the U.S. film industry.

Wooden nunchaku (also known as nunchuks) and a green bamboo whip used in the central fighting sequence in "Game of Death" are expected to fetch around HK$250,000 ($32,000) and HK$75,000 ($9,700), respectively.

All the lots come with a certificate of authenticity signed by members of Bruce Lee's family and friends, who inherited the items in 1973 after Lee's sudden death at the age of 32.

Lee gave most pieces to his former student, Taky Kimura, and to George Lee -- a close friend who made many of the actor's fighting props.

A jade pendant featuring two opposing dragons in white and yellow gold, came from his brother, Robert. Bruce Lee designed and ordered the piece from one of Hong Kong's oldest jewelers just months before his death.

"He didn't get to see it because he passed away," Spink's Lee said.

After the kung fu star's death, his brother went to the jeweler, Chow Sang Sang, and paid for the piece, taking it into his possession.

While Lee is known as one of the world's greatest martial arts practitioners, he had many artistic talents including drawing, poetry and cha cha dancing.

Two hand-drawn pieces are part of the Hong Kong sale, including a sketch of Chinese master monk believed to be a conceptual character for 'The Green Bamboo Warrior', a movie project Lee was working on at the time of his death.

Spink expects the work to fetch between HK$20,000 and $30,000 ($2,500 -$3,800).

The other is an illustration of his teachings on water's flexible nature as an underlying principle of his martial arts philosophy -- jeet kune do.

Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco in 1940 but spent most of his childhood in Hong Kong after his parents returned to their hometown while Lee was an infant.

He died after suffering an allergic reaction to pain medication in July 1973, while filming of "Game of Death" was still underway.

A version of the film was released five years later.

The Spink auction is one of a series of events being held this year to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the star's death.



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