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$ 495,051) inc. premium

Lot Details
A pair of 'gaoshan', 'furong' and 'yuewei' figural panels Early Qing dynasty
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.

Footnotes

  • 清初 鑲嵌壽山石人物故事掛屏一對

    Provenance來源:
    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.

    此對掛屏鑲嵌了高山石、芙蓉石及月尾石,巧妙地利用石的本質及顏色,譜出不同的故事內容。第一件描繪了鍾離權、呂洞賓和李鐵拐在山林間看畫,畫中繪了太極圖。屏中大肚的便是鍾離權,而其左右方提著畫卷的分別是呂洞賓和李鐵拐。在繪畫例子中,以三星(福、祿、壽)讀畫的構圖為多,以八仙人物為主角則較為少見。

    另一件掛屏是關於張良拾履黃公授書的故事。畫左方翹著腿,光著半截腿的便是道教仙翁黃石公;旁面坐在石頭上的一位年青的人物便是張良,相信是剛剛替老爺爺穿上鞋子,而畫中的橋正好說明是在橋邊發生的故事。右方有一名人物坐於轎內,旁邊有書童舉著一些用花布包著的東西,相信是兵書卷,那轎內的也就是黃石公,這件掛屏正好以一個畫面同時表現出張良拾履故事中的兩個情節,也是中國畫常出現的說故事手法。
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