XU BEIHONG (1895-1953)
From a Private Malaysian Collection These paintings come from the collection of Tay Chek Joo. Tay Chek Joo was the youngest of five brothers from a modest family in a Teochew an (Chiuchau) Village in China. Family lore had it that the eldest was an honest merchant who managed to acquire a small capital and decided to seek his fortune in Malacca, Malaysia. After a few years, his trading business was expanding and he sent for his third and fourth brothers to open branches in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore respectively. The second brother had more spiritual aspirations and became a monk. Tay Chek Joo, supported by his entrepreneurial brothers, went on to obtain his Doctorate in Geology from Germany. After his studies, he went to Beijing and for a time, was a professor at a university there. Tay Hung Kee was his eldest son and left China to join the family business in Kuala Lumpur under the tutelage of his uncle (the third brother). Tay Chek Joo had a great love for the arts, especially paintings and calligraphy. His house was filled with his collection which he would admire for hours. It was likely that he befriended Xu Beihong during his student days in Europe, and the paintings were gifts from Xu to mark their friendship. The closeness of their friendship can be seen in the inscriptions where he addressed Tay as "fifth brother ".
XU BEIHONG (1895-1953)

Bamboo and Plum Blossoms

Details
XU BEIHONG (1895-1953)
Bamboo and Plum Blossoms
Inscribed and signed, with three seals of the artist
Dated first day, first month, xinsi year (1941)
Dedicated to Duoxuan (Tay Chek Joo)
Scroll, mounted and framed, ink and colour on paper
103 x 62.5 cm. (40 1/2 x 24 5/8 in.)
20th Century

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Ben Kong<br />Kim Yu
Ben Kong<br />Kim Yu

Lot Essay

The 'Three friends of winter' is one of the most recognized motifs in Chinese painting, with plum blossom symbolizing longevity and bamboo as the upright gentleman who bends but does not break. These plants show hardiness despite being in the deepest of winters, representative of high moral values and loyalty in friendship.
Xu Beihong's Bamboo and Plum Blossoms was a gift from the artist to his friend. During the new year of 1941 when China's situation was unstable, Xu's clean lines and realistic portrayals of the plants were a reflection of his expectations and hopes for a better future for his country.
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