After Liu Songnian (1150-1225) The fishing terrace of Yan Ziling

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 349
After Liu Songnian (1150-1225)
The fishing terrace of Yan Ziling

Sold for £ 31,250 (US$ 43,130) inc. premium
After Liu Songnian (1150-1225)
The fishing terrace of Yan Ziling
Ink and colour on silk, handscroll, depicting a scene from the Eastern Han Dynasty, with Yan Ziling fishing on a terrace on the Fuchun river, while the Emperor Liu Xiu trying to persuade him to take up a court post, accompanied by a large number of his subordinates and attendants at the back, all in a blue and green mountainous landscape setting. 47cm x 486.5cm

Footnotes

  • 仿劉松年(1150-1225) 嚴子陵釣台 設色絹本 手卷

    The story of the hermit Yan Ziling (also known as Yan Guang; dates uncertain) is symbolic of the reclusive hermit, literally turning his back on the glory and perils of court life.

    As one reads the painting from right to left, there is a clear progression of importance: from horse grooms to flag and standard bearers, then from soldiers to ministers and scholars, before finally leading up to the Emperor himself. But just in front of the Emperor, however - the climax of the hierarchical procession - is a humble old fisherman, the hermit Yan Guang, his back turned to the Son of Heaven. Indeed, Yan Guang seems far more interested and content focusing on his fishing than any grand pomp and ceremony going on behind him. The story and painting therefore highlights a questioning of the traditional Confucian hierarchy.

    The official biography of Yan Guang says that as a child, Yan studied together with Liu Xiu (5 BC - 57 AD), the future Emperor. So spartan were their studying conditions however, that when they slept, the room was so small that Yan Guang propped his feet up on his Majesty's stomach. The Emperor and Yan Guang remained close and intimite friends for the rest of their lives, despite some accusing Yan Guang of acts of lese-majeste. The court astonomer even saw a strange star enfringing on the North Star - a symbol of the Emperor - and argued this was a sign that Yan Guang was plotting rebellion. The Emperor however, laughed and shrugged it off knowing his close friend simply did not have anywhere to put his feet at night.

    Despite the Emperor's protection and constant invitations, Yan Guang perhaps fearing court intrigue, chose to be a hermit and recluded to the Fuchun river where he fished for the rest of his life. The painting depicts a fictional scene of the Emperor together with his erudite ministers and mighty army, being symbolically rejected by the humble Yan Guang.

    The story of Yan Guang became increasingly popular following intellectual trends after Wang Yangming (1472-1529) realigned the Confucian notions of the Five Cardinal Relationships (Ruler and Subject/ Father and Son / Husband and Wife / Elder Brother and Younger Brother / Friend and Friend ) emphasising instead the role of friendship as more important, even more than ruler/subject. Friendship although being the most equal and fluid of the five relationships, was the lowest in rank of the five, and deemed even suspicious by some who saw friendship as a threat to the state through friendship networks or factions as well as a threat to the harmony of the traditional home.

    Yan Guang, as a friend, treated the Emperor as an intimate equal without reverence for hierarchy; those followers of Wang Yangming thought or perhaps disillusioned with hierarchy in Chinese society, could therefore, perhaps take solace from this story and painting. Indeed, it is the subject of many poems by famous scholars such as Xu Wei (1521-1593) and Yuan Mei (1716-1797).
Contacts
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories, buyer's premium excluding Cars, Motorbikes, Wine, Whisky and Coin & Medal sales, will be as follows:

Buyer's Premium Rates
27.5% on the first £10,000 of the hammer price;
25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £10,000 up to and including £450,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £450,000 up to and including £4,500,000;
and 14.5% of the hammer price of any amounts in excess of £4,500,000.

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

For payment information please refer to the sale catalog.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

App