A pair of 'gaoshan', 'furong' and 'yuewei' figural panels Early Qing dynasty
Lot 275
A pair of 'gaoshan', 'furong' and 'yuewei' figural panels Early Qing dynasty
Sold for HK$ 3,840,000 (US$ 495,206) inc. premium
Auction Details
A pair of 'gaoshan', 'furong' and 'yuewei' figural panels Early Qing dynasty
Lot Details
A pair of 'gaoshan', 'furong' and 'yuewei' figural panels
Early Qing dynasty
Each of rectangular form, intricately decorated in soapstone with figures in landscape scenes, set against vivid backgrounds of cloud, wave and diaper formed from multiple fragments of soapstone skilfully cut together, the figures, pine trees and rockwork formed from whole pieces, the first panel depicting Li Tieguai, Zhong Liquan and Lü Dongbin depicted reading the 'Tai Ji Tu' (Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate), the second depicting the legend of Zhang Liang, the underside incised with foliate motifs, all mounted in later hardwood hanging frames.
36cm x 41cm.


  • 清初 鑲嵌壽山石人物故事掛屏一對

    Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, 19 November 1981

    The quality of the workmanship on this pair of panels is outstanding, and the unusual Western-style visual perspective is reminiscent of Jesuit court paintings, supporting an attribution to the Imperial court. Moreover, the style of the soapstone carving and treatment of the subject matter is very closely related to the twelve panels in the complete inlaid zitan and hardwood screen from the collection of John Wanamaker, Philadelphia, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 7 July 2003, lot 592.

    Outstanding for being a complete twelve-panel zitan and hardwood screen, it was illustrated by John Wanamaker, A Notable Carved and Painted Twelve-Fold Chinese Screen of the Late Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries From the Imperial Palace in Pekin, New York and Philadelphia, 1928, in which the author stated that the screen was 'made as a gift from a Premier to an Emperor'. Dated to 1696, bearing the inscription 'Painted by Yu Zhiding of Guangling', the screen enclosed six Chinese-subject scenes, including two closely related to the current scenes, and six Western-subject screens. The similarity of style and subject matter suggests that the current pair of screens was created in the Kangxi period, and was also once part of a complete set of twelve similar panels, framed in a grand Imperial screen.

    For an individual panel sold at auction, see a panel depicting Europeans in a landscape, marginally larger (41 by 46cm), sold at Christie's New York, 24-25 March 2011, lot 1405.

    The perspective of the panels is vivid and draws the viewer in; the subject matter is highly evocative. The first panel illustrates a scene in which Li Tieguai, Zhong Liquan and Lü Dongbin are depicted reading the 'Tai Ji Tu' (Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate). The second panel illustrates the story of Zhang Liang, an ambitious young man from an aristocratic family from the Han state in the Warring States period, who contributed to the founding of the Han dynasty. After a failed assassination attempt on Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, he went into hiding. One day, he chanced upon an old man sitting by the Yishui bridge. The old man deliberately dropped his shoes down the embankment and asked Zhang Liang to collect them and put them back on. for him. Swallowing his pride, Zhang Liang obeyed. This part of the story is depicted on the left side of the panel. The right side depicts the moment when the old man is revealed as Huang Shigong, the famous military strategist, one of the legendary four reclusive sages of Mount Shang. He presented Zhang Liang with the military classic The Art of War, which assisted him in helping Liu Bang to found the Han dynasty.


  1. Vincent Wu
    Auction Administration - Chinese Paintings
    Suite 2001, One Pacific Place
    Hong Kong
    Work + 852 3607 0016
  2. Meilin Wang
    Specialist - Chinese Paintings
    Suite 2001, One Pacific Place
    Hong Kong
    Work +852 2918 4321
    FaxFax: +852 2918 4320