BADA SHANREN (1626-1705)
BADA SHANREN (1626-1705)
BADA SHANREN (1626-1705)
9 More
BADA SHANREN (1626-1705)
12 More
PROPERTY OF A JAPANESE PRIVATE COLLECTOR
BADA SHANREN (1626-1705)

LANDSCAPES AND CALLIGRAPHY

Details
BADA SHANREN (1626-1705)
LANDSCAPES AND CALLIGRAPHY
A set of twelve album leaves, mounted as six hanging scrolls, ink on paper
Each leaf measures 24 x 13.5 cm (9 1/2 x 5 1/4 in.)
(6)
Six leaves of painting, each leaf with an artist’s seal
Six leaves of calligraphy, five leaves signed and one leaf inscribed and signed,
with a total of seven seals of the artist
Provenance
Previously in the collection of Matsubayashi Keigetsu
Literature
Zhang Heng, Notes on the Authentication of Painting and Calligraphy from the Muyan Studio, Cultural Relics Publishing House, Beijing, December 2000, pp.981-984.
Wang Chaowen, Full Collection of Bada Shanren, Vol. 4, Jiangxi Fine Art Publishing House, Nanchang, 2000, pp. 840-845.
Yiyuan Duoying, No. 17, People Fine Arts Publishing House, Shanghai, 1982.
Zhang Daqian, Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from Ta Feng Tang (The Great
Wind Hall) Collection, Vol. 3, Benrido, Kyoto, 1955, pl. 31-36.
Post lot text
Recounting Reemergence:
Dispelling Sixty Years of Myths on the Collection History of Bada Shanren’s Landscapes and Calligraphy

In 1699, Zhu Da (Bada Shanren) created Landscapes and Calligraphy dedicated to a gentleman friend. The eighteen leaf album was executed in ink on paper. The first six leaves reproduce the famous Preface to the Orchid Pavilion. The remaining twelve leaves constitute six pairs of landscapes and original verses.

During the Qing period, historic works of painting and calligraphy from the preceding dynasties were especially prized. As such, the genius of Bada Shanren’s free and expressive brushwork in the work was not recognised in his own day, and it is not known in records of the period. Landscapes and Calligraphy first comes to light through Zhang Daqian’s 1955 publication Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from Ta Feng Tang. In December 1949, Zhang Daqian departed Chengdu on a direct flight to Taiwan. He took with him 50 of his own copies made from the frescoes at Dunhuang, along with numerous classical works of painting and calligraphy. These works accompanied him on his itinerant lifestyle, which took him from Hong Kong, to India, Argentina and many other destinations. In 1954 Zhang moved to Mogi das Cruzes in Brazil, buying over 200 acres of land. Here he built a Chinese style garden, which he named the Garden of Eight Virtues, or Bade Yuan. During this time, Zhang was in robust health, travelling between Japan, Brazil, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Europe and America. From a solid base in the art worlds of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan, he also sought to break into the West. This was an expensive undertaking, and stretched his purse beyond the funds raised through his selling exhibitions. To meet this financial need, Zhang decided to sell off some of the historic works that had left Chengdu with him. In autumn 1954, Zhang began compiling a selection of classical Chinese paintings and calligraphic works from his own collection, to be published as Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from Ta Feng Tang. In January 1955, after the closure of his latest exhibition in Hong Kong, Zhang flew direct to Japan to supervise printing of this publication. In Winter of that year its four imposing volumes were published in Japan, coinciding with the opening of Zhang’s latest Japanese exhibition. This publication cemented Zhang’s international reputation as a connoisseur, collector and practitioner of classical Chinese painting and calligraphy.

The pages of Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from Ta Feng Tang lead the reader through an astounding array of classical works from the Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. Soon after its publication, this compendium of Zhang’s collection attracted distinct attention from the metropolitan centres of New York and Beijing. In New York, Japanese American antique dealer Joseph Umeo Seo (1911-1998) brought Zhang’s catalogue to the attention of preeminent collector John M. Crawford Jr. (1913-1988). Together Seo and Crawford acquired several of the works listed in the catalogue. In 1962 Lawrence Sickman (1907- 1988) organised an exhibition of Crawford’s collection in New York. The accompanying volume edited by Sickman, Catalogue of the Exhibition of Chinese Calligraphy and Painting, includes 19 works also found in Zhang’s Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from Ta Feng Tang. These span the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, including exceptional examples by leading masters of each period. Though we know it to be a substantial figure, it is impossible to calculate the exact number of classical paintings and calligraphy pieces Crawford acquired from Zhang’s collection.

Turning our attention to Beijing, preeminent connoisseur Zhang Heng (Zhang Congyu, 1915-1963) discussed Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from Ta Feng Tang in his late 1950s publication Notes on the Authentication of Painting and Calligraphy from the Muyan Studio. Zhang Heng was a leading authority in connoisseurship: a member of the Palace Museum’s Committee for the Authentication of Cultural Relics, Deputy Editor in Chief of the Cultural Relics Bureau Publishing House, and Deputy Head of the Cultural Relics Bureau. In his Notes, he comments on several works by Bada Shanren recorded in Zhang Daqian’s Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from Ta Feng Tang, and the discussion of Landscapes and Calligraphy reads as follows:

Bada Shanren, album of poems and paintings, six leaves.
Six leaves in ink and colour on paper, measuring … high and … wide. The landscapes are exceptionally fine, each leaf paired with an inscription. The dimensions of the inscriptions match those of the painting, and are undated. On the basis of the signature the album was likely produced when the artist was in his 70s. The album includes a freehand copy of Wang Xizhi’s (303-361) Preface to the Orchid Pavilion, which is recorded separately…. An accompanying semi-cursive script inscription dates the work to the yimao year, in the 38th year of the Kangxi reign period (1699), when Bada Shanren was 74 years of age.

Zhang Heng’s Notes approach the work in two parts, documenting the Preface to the Orchid Pavilion in a separate entry from Bada’s twelve album leaves of paired painting and original verse. He describes the landscapes as “exceptionally fine”, an appraisal based upon its publication in Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from Ta Feng Tang. Zhang Heng was clearly deeply familiar with Bada’s oeuvre. His preliminary estimate, made before the transcription of the full inscriptions, states that the work dates from Bada Shanren’s seventies. This correlates directly with the 1699 date he later encountered on the accompanying inscription, when Bada was 74 years of age. This is testimony to Zhang Heng’s careful and protracted study. In the biography of Zhang Heng co-authored by his three children, they give the following account of their father:

Our father undertook this Herculean labour of documentation outside of his working hours… Every evening after finishing work and dinner he would immerse himself in a pile of books, deep into the night. Yet every evening there would be visitors, and our father would have to set his work aside…. Every evening he would wait for his guests to leave, whereupon he would resume his work, carrying on late into the night.

This Herculean project was the compilation of Notes on the Authentication of Painting and Calligraphy from the Muyan Studio. Zhang Hengs Notes exemplifies assiduous scholarship, diligently produced in the little spare time he had available. His work has rightly been the subject of serious, in-depth study by subsequent generations, who have lauded his mindset, erudition, selfpossession and insight.
Following its first publication in Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from Ta Feng Tang, the location of Landscapes and Calligraphy on the Orchid Pavilion became a protracted mystery. In 1982, the Shanghai Renmin Chubanshe published the 17th edition of Yiyuan Duoying, focused on Bada Shanren. This referenced the twelve leaves of paired painting and calligraphy. However, Badas preceding six leaves reproducing the Preface to the Orchid Pavilion were omitted. In Zhang Hengs Notes, the two are necessarily separated as part of his systematic treatment of painting and calligraphy as distinct artforms. Yiyuan Duoying presents no discernable justification for its bisection of the album.

There is a recurrent error in the recorded provenance of Poems and Paintings on the Orchid Pavilion Preface. In Bada Shanren Quanji, vol. 4, the eighteen leaves of the work are captioned as in the collection of John M. Crawford Jr.. In Bada Shanren Shichaos
catalogue of Bada’s poems inscribed on paintings, the work is again recorded as in Crawford’s collection. There is also an index of extant paintings by Bada Sharen at the end of volume four of Bada Shanren Quanji. While this index clearly records private and public collections, both within China and internationally, Landscapes and Calligraphy is inexplicably omitted. How can we determine if the work was part of Crawford’s collection? The assertions of the aforementioned studies are certainly questionable. Preeminent scholar of Bada Shanren Wang Fangyu (1913-1997) repeatedly stated that the location of the work, and the identity of its owner, were unknown. Wang was a Chinese immigrant to America, and a close associate of Crawford. The two men were born in the same year. In The Calligraphy of Bada Shanren, Wang includes the following short entry, entitled ‘Bada Shanren’s Preface to the Orchid Pavilion’:

No. 12. Simao year (1699), 8th month. Former collection of Zhang Daqian. Current location unknown. Recorded in Masterpieces
of Chinese Painting from Ta Feng Tang, vol. 3. Landscapes and Calligraphy, six leaves (authentic). (From Bada Shanren Quanji, vol. 5. pp. 1205.)

In his 1990 Yale U.P. publication Master of the Lotus Garden: The Life and Art of Bada Shanren, Wang repeats his assertion that the location of Landscapes and Calligraphy is unknown (p.270, appendix C, dated works no. 119). Once again, the only reference Wang gives is Zhang Daqians catalogue of 1955. Wang was the preeminent scholar and collector of Bada Shanren outside of China. Yet he never knew the location of Landscapes and Calligraphy. He never had the opportunity to view it in person, and continually referred to it through Zhang Daqians 1955 publication. Thus, we can be certain that Landscapes and Calligraphy was not in the collection of Wangs friend John M. Crawford Jr.

There are some who claim that Landscapes and Calligraphy was in Wang Fangyu’s own collection. However, there is no discernible
basis for this. Were Wang to have this work within his family collection, it is not conceivable that he would have still omitted to mention this in his own 1990 publication. Moreover, the work is not included among the thirty pieces recorded in the 2003 publication of Wang and his wife’s collection: In Pursuit of Heavenly Harmony: Paintings and Calligraphy by Bada Shanren from the Estate of Wang Fangyu and Sum Wai.

Following its publication in 1955 in Zhang Daqian’s Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from Ta Feng Tang, Landscapes and Calligraphy
seemed to have disappeared without trace. For more than sixty years its location was unknown to the international community of collectors. The consignment of twelve leaves of paired painting and verse from Landscapes and Calligraphy, offered this autumn
in Christie’s Hong Kong, is hugely beneficial for the scholarly record of this work. This album travelled with Zhang Daqian
through his itinerant life. As these travels included Zhang’s brief residency in Hong Kong, the reappearance of this album in Christies is something of a homecoming.

Lamentably, the album leaves of Landscapes and Calligraphy have been remounted as six vertical scrolls. Each scroll displays the paired calligraphy above the corresponding painting in a Japanese style mount. In its present format, Bada Shanrens preceding six-leaf rendition of Preface to the Orchid Pavilion is lost. Yet this remounting in no way detracts from the painting and calligraphys compelling and thought-provoking beauty. The collection history of Landscapes and Calligraphy has been a mystery for over sixty years. As with many of Bada Shanrens great accomplishments, these sixty years will likely remain one of art historys enduring enigmas.



Sale room notice
Please note that apart from the literatures listed in the catalogue, Lot 8003 is also published in:
Paintings and Calligraphy by Bada Shanren, Tokyodo, Tokyo, 1975.

請注意: 編號8003拍品加一出版:
《八大山人書畫集》,日本東京堂,1975年。

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