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Zhang Zhao, 'Shi Gu Ge' by Han Yu in cursive script. Qing dynasty, Qianlong period, Early 18th century.. photo courtesy Sotheby's

handscroll, ink on gold-flecked paper with a silk brocade wrapper, signed Zhang Zhao with three seals of the artist, an Imperial frontispiece by the Qianlong Emperor entitled Gui ci shen bi ('A Magnificent Verse Written with a Divine Brush'), dated the gengxu year corresponding to 1790, with 33 seals of the Qianlong Emperor, and one seal by the Xuantong Emperor; 56 by 1203 cm56 by 1203 cm. Estimate 15,000,000—25,000,000 HKD. Lot Sold 90,260,000 HKD

PROVENANCE: Sotheby's New York, 5th December 1985, lot 124.

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: Shiqu baoji xubian ('Sequel to The Precious Collection of the Stone Canal [Pavilion]), Qing Dynasty, Qianlong period, pp. 691-692.
Gugong yi shi shuji shuhua mulu zhi yi ('An Index of Books, Paintings and Calligraphy Lost from the Forbidden City', Part I), reprint, Beijing, National Palace Museum, 1946, p. 29.
Chen Rentao, et al., Gugong yi shi shuhua mu jiaozhu ('Notes on Paintings and Calligraphy Lost from the Forbidden City'), Hong Kong, Tong Ying Company, May 1956, p. 59.

NOTE: The 37 seals on the handscroll are:

1. Dian xue qin zheng ('To Study Classics and be Diligent in Governing', see p. 49)
2. Ba zheng mao nian zhibao ('Treasure of the Eighty-year old who concerns himself with the Eight Signs', see p. 48 upper seal)
3. Zi qiang bu xi ('Self-strengthening Never Ceases', see p. 48 lower seal)
4. Jian tian xin
5. Miao yan xie qing kuai
6. Wufu wudai tang guxi tianzi bao ('A Family of Five Generations Enjoying Five Blessings, The Longevity of Seventy Years')
7. Ba zheng mao nian zhibao
8. Qianqing Gong bao ('Treasure of the Mansion of Heavenly Purity')
9. Shui yue liang cheng ming
10. Chui lou
11. Shi Ze Tang ('Studio of Eternal Blessing' of the artist)
12. Shiqu baoji ('Precious Catalogue of Treasures within the Moat')
13. Shiqu dingjian
14. Baoji zhongbian
15. Guxi tianzi
16. Qianlong yulan zhibao
17. Qianqing Gong jiancang bao
18. Han wei jing ji
19. Ji shi duo suo xin
20. Bao tai
21. Bi hua chun yu
22. Jing zhong guan zaohua
23. Shu shi yan qiu zun guxun
24. Ji xi you yuxiang
25. Xue jing qiangu
26. Qianlong jianshang
27. Xuantong yulan zhibao ('Appreciation of His Majesty Xuantong')
28. Ba zheng mao nian zhibao
29. Zhang Zhao si yin ('Private Seal of Zhang Zhao')
30. Detian ('Blessed by the Heaven', the studio name hao of the artist)
31. Sanxi Tang jingjian xi
32. Yi zi sun
33. Tiandi wei shi
34. Xintian zhuren ('The Ruler Who Believes in Heaven')
35. Tian'en baxun zhibao ('Treasure of the Emperor at Eighty Thanks to Heaven's Blessing')
36. Taishang huangdi zhibao ('Treasure of the Emperor Emeritus')
37. Guan shu wei le

Sotheby's. An Important Private Collection of Qing Historical Works of Art. 07 Oct 10. Hong Kong www.sothebys.com