Lot 1306
  • 1306

AN IMPERIAL CALLIGRAPHIC ALBUM IN THE STYLE OF WANG XIZHI MARK AND PERIOD OF QIANLONG, DATED TO THE GUIYOU YEAR (CORRESPONDING TO 1753)

Estimate
600,000 - 800,000 HKD
Sold
bidding is closed

Description

ink on yellow paper, comprising ten double-pages between zitan covers of a deep brown tone, the front cover incised with the title Yu Lin Wang Tie  ('Imperial Calligraphy in the Manner of Wang Xizhi) and filled-in in green pigment, the first and last pages of a pale blue colour with gold flecking, the remaining pages each superbly and freely inscribed in caoshu (grass script) with five columns of characters in Qianlong's own hand, ending with the date 'Guiyou er yue Yuti', followed by two seals reading 'de xiang wai yi' and 'Qianlong shen han'

Provenance

St. John's University, New York, accession no.  166.1.

Catalogue Note

The Qianlong Emperor was a passionate poet and essayist, making many items from his collection the subject of his poetic eulogies, including calligraphy, paintings, jades and ceramics.  The present calligraphic album demonstrates the Emperor's desire for self-cultivation, and his enthusiasm for the revival of ancient artistic tradition. 

The present album was made after Qianlong's appreciation for the calligraphy by Wang Xizhi (c. 307-365), China's most famous calligrapher, also known as the 'Sage of Calligraphers.'  Wang Xizhi was one of Qianlong's favourite calligraphers, which can be seen in the fact that Qianlong named his private studio, Sanxi Tang (Room of Three Rarities) after one of Wang's works.  Sudden Clearing after a Lively Snowfall by Wang Xizhi was one of Qianlong's favourite pieces of calligraphy, illustrated in Emperor Qianlong's Grand Cultural Enterprise, Taipei, 2002, pl.I-12.  Over centuries the work was given numerous colophons and collector's seals, among them 70 colophons by the Qianlong emperor himself.  In one of them he mentions that he copied Wang's calligraphy several hundred times and never grew tired of it.   

Compare two examples of jade plaques made after Qianlong's appreciation for Wang Xizhi's calligraphy; a white jade screen, sold in these rooms, 27th April 2003, lot 23; and the other, a jade book, sold in these rooms, 8th April 2007, lot 601.

These two seals on the present lot can also be found on an 18th century imperial album of paintings by the court artist Zou Yigui.

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