NFTs of famous Hong Kong cartoon character McDull to be auctioned by Sotheby's in January

Screengrab/YouTube/麥兜Mcdull

As if having your own bronze statue on Hong Kong’s Avenue of Stars isn’t enough, McDull has been further immortalised in NFTs.

Two non-fungible tokens of Hong Kong’s favourite porcine cartoon character will be auctioned by Sotheby’s later in January, along with original manuscripts and new cartoon strips about McDull and his cousin McMug created by illustrator Alice Mak Ka-bik and writer Brian Tse Lap-man, the auction house announced on Monday (Jan 10).

NFTs are digital contracts built on the same blockchain technology behind cryptocurrencies and are designed as permanent and immutable records of how the ownership of assets such as digital art is passed from one person to another. They are essentially certificates of authenticity for digital art — the very thing Tse and Mak were interested in, they said in an emailed statement.

One of the NFTs will come as a special picture frame displaying a 3D animation of McDull appearing as Prince de la Bun, the Hong Kong version of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, with a pineapple bun on his head, guarding a rose (something that viewers of the 2004 film McDull, Prince De La Bun will understand). According to the description: “As his rose bud blooms, the look on McDull’s face changes from anticipation to excitement while stars glimmer in the background.”

The other NFT is a 3D animation of McDull with his class at the Springfield Flowers Kindergarten, looking comical in animal costumes as they get ready to perform on stage. This one comes with a soundtrack that all McMug and McDull fans would recognise: the Springfield Flower Kindergarten’s school anthem, or Chun Tian Hua Hua Kindergarten School Song, as it is called in the auction catalogue.

Buyer of this NFT will receive it in a glasses-free 3D display screen with built-in speakers, with the animated footage of the characters singing and playing musical instruments programmed to play on a loop.

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“We are excited to work with Mr Brian Tse and Ms Alice Mak to bring this auction to life, celebrating the new year with the gleeful spirit of McMug and McDull,” said Sotheby’s Chinese paintings specialist Annie Wong in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming visitors to the magical world of McDull, and through the inspiring artworks, inviting them to rediscover the simple joy of life.”

McDull and his cousin McMug have appeared in just about every media form since their print debut over 30 years ago — first, as comic books, then television series and feature films. The trials and tribulations of McDull — an underachieving, rather dull young pig brought up by a single parent in a public housing estate — as well as his mother and their animal and human friends have tugged at the heartstrings of generations of fans.

A total of 47 lots are going under the hammer, including paintings on paper dated from the 1990s and signed by Mak, with estimates starting at around HK$10,000 (S$1,732).

McDull here he comes, Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery, 5/F One Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty. Auction preview Jan 14-23. Opening hours vary. Check with Sotheby’s on 2524 8121. Online bidding accepted from Jan 14-25.

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This article was first published in South China Morning Post.