Leng Mei (active 1677-1742) Children at Play
Lot 1147
Leng Mei (active 1677-1742)
Children at Play
HK$ 5 million - 8 million
US$ 650,000 - 1 million

Lot Details
Leng Mei (active 1677-1742)
Children at Play
Ink and colour on silk, horizontal scroll
Inscribed and signed Leng Mei
114.5cm x 225.5cm (45in x 88¾in).

Footnotes

  • Leng Mei was an early Qing court artist who studied painting under the tutelage of fellow court artist Jiao Bingzhen. In the thirtieth year of the Kangxi era (1691) he contributed to the production of the twelve scrolls depicting Kangxi Emperor's southern inspection tour and later in the fifty-third year of the Kangxi era (1714) participated in the court sponsored depiction of the lavish celebration of the Kangxi Emperor's birthday. The present work Children at Play is composed on a horizontal axis on a massive scale, at 114.5cm tall and 225cm wide. Of vibrant and brilliant colour, it depicts numerous children amidst gardens and rockery, raucously playing games amidst the lush foliage. The work is extremely densely composed, with seemingly little to no empty space. Upon close inspection, these frolicking dozens of children are all male, without a single little girl. According to research compiled by Nie Chongzheng at the Beijing Palace Museum, this image was likely completed during the Yongzheng era, for the future Qianlong Emperor Hongli during his regency as Prince Bao.

    冷枚 戲嬰圖 設色絹本 橫幅

    款識:戲嬰圖。金門畫史冷枚。

    觀冷枚的《戲嬰圖》軸
    聶崇正

    筆者近日見到清朝畫家冷枚的一幅作品《戲嬰圖》。此圖為絹本設色,縱114.5公分、橫225公分。畫為橫幅構圖,張幅甚大,圖畫色彩頗鮮豔,圖中畫有眾多小童在花園的假山石、花樹叢中玩耍嬉戲,十分熱鬧,畫面非常飽滿,幾乎不留空白。仔細看來,幾十個小童均為男孩,無一女童。它應當是屬於傳統的「百子圖」題材的作品,是為祝福祈求家族「人丁興旺」類的圖畫。畫幅的右下角有作者的署款:「戲嬰圖,金門畫史冷枚」。

    冷枚這位元畫家,畫史上有記載,清代胡敬所著的《國朝院畫錄》一書中說:「冷枚,字吉臣,膠州人。工人物,焦秉貞弟子。」並且記錄了收藏於宮中、記載於《石渠寶笈》的冷枚作品十八件。作者佚名的《讀畫輯略》一書中記載:「冷枚,字吉臣,膠州人。工神佛、羅漢、仕女,各極其妙。康熙五十三年修《萬壽盛典》,冷枚曾入選。人物、界畫居多。」按:康熙五十三年為公元1713年。由此可知,冷枚是清朝前期的一位宮廷畫家,為膠州(今屬山東)人,曾經跟隨畫家焦秉貞學畫,並且於康熙五十三年在宮廷內參加了《萬壽盛典》圖的繪製。另外,冷枚於康熙三十年(1691)就參與了《康熙南巡圖》十二卷的繪製,這是他最早和宮廷有關聯的記載。

    現在我們從清內務府造辦處的檔案中,可以獲得一些資料,由此對於畫家冷枚的生平作些補充。很奇怪的是雍正十三年間的檔案中並不見有畫家冷枚的蹤跡,而到了乾隆元年(1736),檔案裡馬上就出現了冷枚的姓名,由乾隆皇帝下令,叫畫家冷枚進宮供職。根據研究和分析,雍正十三年間,畫家冷枚是在寶親王弘曆的王府中當差,而隨著弘曆當了皇帝,冷枚就隨之進宮再次成為了宮廷畫家。

    冷枚的部分作品的署款,在其姓名前加有「臣」字,如「小臣冷枚恭畫」、「臣冷枚恭畫」,說明畫幅是在宮廷中專門為皇帝而畫的。而此幅《戲嬰圖》從張幅來看絕非張貼和懸掛於普通人家庭內,畫面的署款上卻有沒有「臣」字,所以筆者據此推測,此圖應當是畫於雍正年間,是在為寶親王弘曆供職期間所畫的,所以畫家姓名前還不能加上「臣」字。不過此圖署款中的「金門畫史」四字又透露出他曾經的身份。

    但是冷枚的生卒年份不得而知,沒有見到史料上有明確的記述。從內務府造辦處的檔案裡得知,冷枚去世應在乾隆六年(1741)之後,此時他已經是一位白髮發蒼蒼的老畫師了。
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