Must See: Seven Key Points of Traditional Chinese Calligraphy and Painting

 Auction Information     |      未知    |    2023-06-19 17:40
The boundaries between traditional Chinese calligraphy and painting are relatively blurred. From classical paintings before the 20th century to contemporary paintings, these works all reflect ancient themes, materials, and techniques to some extent.
The artist uses ink and watercolor to depict landscape scenery while wielding a pen on paper or silk. The themes are similar and similar, but upon closer examination, it can be seen that the paintings have evolved from early masterpieces, hiding historical clues. The difference lies in the various details.
You Shixun, the international expert director of Christie's Hong Kong Chinese Painting and Calligraphy Department, said, "Traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy inherit the past and the future, and the relationship is inseparable
He explained, "If we don't have a clear understanding of the past, the foundation will inevitably be unstable. Traditional calligraphy and painting are closely related to past history, and the degree of closeness is even greater than global art trends

1. Identify authenticity

Ming Wenzheng Ming, "Seven Character Poetry Volume in Running Script". Ink paper scroll
46 x 900 cm (18 1/8 x 354 3/8 in)
This batch was sold on May 27, 2019 in Christie's Hong Kong
Transaction price HKD 83227500

Copying the masterpieces of predecessors is a necessary path for traditional Chinese painters to learn. Many times, it is difficult to distinguish between the original work and the duplicate, especially for works with a long history. Although the artist did not intentionally plagiarize, there is still a chance of being mistaken for true.
Even experts find it difficult to distinguish between truth and falsehood at once. You Shixun smiled and said that if five experts were invited for evaluation, they might ultimately come up with seven completely different opinions. He pointed out, "There is no shortcut to distinguish truth from falsehood. This requires a long period of learning and is very subjective
Although classical calligraphy and painting are widely favored by the outside world, You Shixun believes that the simplest way is to purchase traditional Chinese paintings through a way that has direct contact with artists. In other words, paintings from the Song, Yuan, and Ming dynasties still attract a large number of collectors.
In recent years, the collection or imperial treasures of Emperor Qianlong in the 18th century have become a focal point, and during his reign, he collected one of the largest art collections in the world. These works are all stamped with the seal of Emperor Qianlong's collection, and are of top quality in terms of painting quality, materials, and interpretation methods, perfectly matching the status of the emperor.

2. Find artists or styles that resonate with you
Chinese calligraphy and painting are diverse, with monochrome and colorful painting styles coexisting. Some of them are literati style, inclined to Expressionism, and express personal creativity. Part of it showcases meticulous brushwork, emphasizing neatness and meticulousness, with a focus on decorative details.
Yun Shouping of the Qing Dynasty, The Painting of National Fragrance after Spring. Colored silk scroll
134.5 x 68.5 centimeters (53 x 27 inches)
This batch was sold on November 29, 2021 in Christie's Hong Kong
Transaction price HKD 59650000

You Shixun suggests collectors to focus on their best interests and find the style they feel the most strongly about themselves, whether bold and distinct or elegant and delicate. The next step is to focus on researching several artists in the chosen field and delve deeper into their works. This helps you establish your vision and taste, and integrate with the artist's style.
3. Understand the history or background of artists
Lin Fengmian (1900-1991), Drama Characters. Color Paper Mirror Frame
70.8 x 66.8 cm (27 7 ⁄ 8 x 26 1 ⁄ 4 inches)
This batch was sold on May 29, 2022 in Christie's Hong Kong
Transaction price HKD 6048000

Traditional Chinese calligraphy and painting, which can reveal the personality and character of artists, are the most precious. It is said that art must not come from the hands of evil people. To truly understand an artist's work, one can start with their background and era. You Shixun said, "Excellent Chinese calligraphy and painting are composed of countless levels and properties. The more knowledge, the more experience, and the deeper understanding
The brushwork is the ultimate tool for artists to express their ideas. Is the style of writing bold and firm or precise and restrained? Are the types of strokes varied or unique?
4. Consider artists with lower visibility
C. C. Wang (1907-2003), "Mountains and Rivers". Color Paper Mirror Frame
68.7 x 45.3 centimeters (27 x 17 7 ⁄ 8 inches)
This batch was sold on November 30, 2021 in Christie's Hong Kong
Transaction price HKD 212500

You Shixun stated that true collectors of Chinese calligraphy and painting should not be too limited to the reputation of painters. On the contrary, he suggests collectors to follow their intuition and purchase their favorite works. He pointed out, "Even for thousands of yuan, you can find the best work
5 Inspection status
You Shixun also mentioned that the vast majority of works from before the modern era have undergone some degree of restoration. Sometimes, these repairs may seem good on the surface, but don't be fooled. The covering technique can mask defects, but at the same time, it will mask the original strokes and weaken the value and authenticity of the original product.
Ming, Shen, Zhou, and Wen Zhengming's poetry and painting volumes are combined, with color/ink paper scrolls
Drawing 29 x 193.5 centimeters (11 3/8 x 76 1/8 inches), calligraphy 28.7 x 154.5 centimeters (11 1/8 x 60 7/8 inches)
This batch was sold on December 2, 2020 in Christie's Hong Kong
Transaction price HKD 26650000

To preserve their original state, Chinese calligraphy and painting are generally only taken out for viewing in special occasions, and will be properly collected at other times. If choosing to mount or display for a long time, collectors should avoid direct sunlight on the work. Maintaining low light and a suitable dry and wet environment is an ideal condition for preserving traditional Chinese calligraphy and painting.
6. Participate in public exhibitions and personally learn from calligraphy and painting
Chang Dai-chien (1899-1983), Bifeng Ancient Temple (part). Colored Gold Paper Vertical Axis
127.7 x 63 cm (50 ¼  X 24 ¾  Inches)
This batch was sold on May 24, 2021 in Christie's Hong Kong
Transaction price HKD 209100000

You Shixun pointed out that personally appreciating different paintings and establishing one's own visual database is beneficial to collectors without any harm.
He took the United States as an example. Traditional Chinese paintings and calligraphy collections are most abundant in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York Mets, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Freer Gallery of Art, the Boston Museum of Art, and the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas. In China, the Palace Museum in Beijing and Taipei, as well as the Shanghai Museum, are worth visiting.
You Shixun added, "Don't forget, you can also go to Christie's to personally appreciate treasures. Modern people are busy with life, and if you can slow down and appreciate masterpieces in your hands, it can be a pleasure
7. Don't be scared by calligraphy and painting
Ming Yao Yun is here, "The Scenery of Jianghuai". Colored Silk Book Loose Album Page Ten Kai
Approximately 22 x 28 centimeters (8 5 ⁄ 8 x 11 inches) per frame
This batch was sold on May 28, 2022 in Christie's Hong Kong
Transaction price HKD 16650000

You Shixun emphasized, "Whenever new visitors enter the exhibition hall, I never hide my paintings. Even if you are not familiar with Chinese or have not been exposed to this field, the paintings have their own words. They will engage in dialogue with you. Every time you appreciate the works, you will definitely enjoy the communication more