1

Lot 576. Wang Hui (1632-1717), et al., The Kangxi Emperor's Southern Inspection Tour, Section of Scroll VI: From the Town of Benniu to the City of Changzhou on the Grand Canal; ink and color on silk, handscroll; 67.8 by 475.3 cm. 26 7/8  by 187 1/8  in. Estimate 4,000,000 — 6,000,000 USD. Lot sold 9,546,000 USD. Photo Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Roy and Marilyn Papp Collection of Chinese Paintings, one of the finest American collections remaining in private hands, saw a flurry of bidding tonight in Sotheby’s New York’s inaugural evening sale of Classical Chinese Paintings. Private collectors and institutions, from the United States and beyond, eagerly bid for works of art that had remained off the market for as many as fifty years. With 92 of 122 lots selling above their high estimate – some fetching over ten times their estimates and many of which set records – the sale totaled $32,245,375 (estimate $10,227,000/15,502,000). 

Harry Papp commented: “I hope that these paintings bring as much joy to their new owners as they did to my parents. The collection was one of their great passions, and seeing it shared with so many visitors to the beautiful exhibition and hundreds of bidders in the sale would have brought them great joy.” 

Rongde Zhang, Head of Sale of Chinese Classical Paintings Department, New York noted: “Tonight’s extraordinary result leaves no doubt that the Papp Collection stands as one of the finest private American collections of Chinese paintings ever assembled. With over three hundred bidders competing for 122 lots for over 4 hours, driving a total that doubled the high estimate, the sale now stands as one of the defining events in our field. Roy and Marilyn Papp were gloriously representative of the open-minded collecting style of Americans in the mid-20th Century which, coupled with their generosity to institutions both in Phoenix and further afield, continues to inspire academics and collectors today.” 

Roy and Marilyn Papp began collecting Chinese Paintings in the 1960s. Beginning with a mere interest for Chinese Paintings and their elegance and expressionism, they developed their collecting habits into a passion, educating themselves along the way with guidance from experts in the field including Claudia Brown of the Phoenix Art Museum, Ju-shi Chou of Arizona State University and Howard Rogers, a renowned art dealer. The resulting collection, half of which was auctioned this evening with the remainder gifted to the Phoenix Art Museum, is a high-quality survey of schools, styles and formats with established provenance and significant exhibition history.  

Greeting visitors at the entrance to the 10th floor galleries was The Kangxi Emperor's Southern Inspection Tour, Section of Scroll VI. Fawned over by thousands of visitors during the exhibition, this section of Scroll VI, the longest and best preserved, sold to applause for $9,546,000 following a fifteen-minute bidding war on the telephones and in the room (estimate $4/6 million). Of the twelve scrolls commemorating the Kangxi Emperor’s visits to economic and strategic sites in the southern regions of China, ten are housed in institutions around the world and one remains unseen for decades. 

2

2

Lot 576. Wang Hui (1632-1717), et al., The Kangxi Emperor's Southern Inspection Tour, Section of Scroll VI: From the Town of Benniu to the City of Changzhou on the Grand Canal; ink and color on silk, handscroll; 67.8 by 475.3 cm. 26 7/8  by 187 1/8  in. Estimate $4,000,000 - 6,000,000. Lot sold $9,546,000 (£7,218,147) to an Asian Private. Record for artist at auction. Photo Sotheby's.

Provenance: Christie's New York, Fine Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy, November 30, 1988, lot 89

Exhibited1. Heritage of the Brush: The Roy and Marilyn Papp Collection of Chinese Painting, Phoenix Art Museum, March 18- May 7, 1989; Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, Northwestern University, March 8-April 22, 1990; Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University, September 28-November 24, 1991; Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, October 25-December 27, 1992; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio, April 18-June 20, 1993; Elvehjem Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison, January 29-March 20, 1994; Crocker Art Museum, California, October 30-December 31, 1997; Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, January 31-March 28, 1999; Fleming Museum of Art, University of Vermont, October 3-December 10, 2000
2. Le Parfum de l'encre: Peintures Chinoises de la Collection Roy et Marilyn Papp, Musée Cernuschi, September 23-December 30, 1999
3. Lyrical Traditions: Four Centuries of Chinese Paintings from the Papp Collection, The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, June 22-October 7, 2007
4. Intimate Escapes: Navigating Social Currents in Ming-Qing China, Phoenix Art Museum, Summer 2009

Literature: 1. Heritage of the Brush: The Roy and Marilyn Papp Collection of Chinese Painting, Phoenix Art Museum, 1989, cat. 18, pp. 68-69
2. Maxwell K. Hearn, The Kangxi Southern Inspection Tour: A Narrative Program by Wang Hui (Doctoral dissertation), Princeton University, 1990, pl. 5 and pp. 111-114
3. Claudia Brown, "Heritage of the Brush: The Roy and Marilyn Papp Collection of Chinese Painting", inOrientations, vol. 22, no. 9, September 1991, fig. 7, p. 79
4. Le Parfum de l'encre: Peintures Chinoises de la Collection Roy et Marilyn Papp, Musée Cernuschi, 1999, cat. 19, pp. 74-75
5. Maxwell Hearn, Wen Fong, Chin-sung Chang, Landscapes Clear and Radiant: The Art of Wang Hui (1632-1717), New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008, pp. 136-137
6. Claudia Brown, Great Qing: Painting in China, 1644-1911, University of Washington Press, 2014, fig. 2.3, pp. 38
7. Claudia Brown, Melissa Button and Mark Pomilio (Eds.), Inverse Conversations: Tradition RE/formed,Phoenix Art Museum, 2015, p. 62

An Imperial Commission for an Imperial Affair: On the Kangxi Emperors Southern Tour Scrolls
Nie Chongzheng

The origin and content of the Kangxi Emperors Southern Tour scrolls
The Kangxi Emperor undertook six Southern Tours during his reign—in 1684, 1689, 1699, 1703, 1705, and 1707 respectively. He described the purpose of these tours as follows: “The Yellow River and the Grand Canal are intimately connected to the livelihood of the people. I care about them dearly… Now I have selected an auspicious time to tour the south so as to experience the waterways and also because I desire to understand the living conditions of the people.” On the surface, Kangxi wanted to inspect the flood control of the Yellow River and the Grand Canal and to understand the local customs of the various regions, but the social and political environment of the time suggested a less explicit motive: to ease the anti-Qing sentiments of the Jiangnan region.1 Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Fujian belonged to the Southern Ming Dynasty. When it was conquered by the Qing, the local officials, gentry, and commoners were vehemently opposed to its rule. Even during Kangxi’s reign, some of them remained loyal to the Ming, which posed a serious danger to the Qing. To win over the hearts of these people, Kangxi showed himself as a benevolent ruler and made a point of worshipping at the mausolea of the legendary ruler Yu the Great in Shaoxing and of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty in Nanjing. As a way to encourage the Jiangnan literati to accept Qing rule and offer their services to it, the Southern Tours contributed to the political stability and economic development of the Qing Dynasty. They were also extravagant affairs involving many participants, and were richly documented in both texts and images. Kangxi’s court created a set of 12 scrolls of The Kangxi Emperors Southern Tour, based on the second tour of 1689. 

The creation and creators of The Kangxi Emperors Southern Tour 
In 1689, after the conclusion of the second Southern Tour, Kangxi decreed the creation of the scrolls in question. The frontispiece of the twelfth scroll indicates that the set took “six years to complete.” According to Qing court regulations, every important court painting must be approved by the emperor in draft form. The Kangxi Emperors Southern Tourunderwent a similar process, and indeed some of the drafts are still extant. The scrolls in the set are all 67.8 in height but range in length from 14 to 26 meters. Each of the scrolls consists of a specially made seamless piece of silk of unusually high quality, with a fine texture and luxurious sheen.

At the Qing court, the Imperial Household Department (Neiwufu) organized the work of the painting workshops. A record in court documents stored at the First Historical Archives of China names Cao Quan as “Supervisor of the Painting of theSouthern Tour Scrolls.” Cao Quan was the younger brother of Cao Yin, Head of the Imperial Manufactory in Suzhou. Dated to the fourth day of the fourth month of 1690, this record also makes clear the intimate relationship between the Caos and the Qing imperial family.

Song Junye, whose office was affiliated with the Imperial Library, was among the painters responsible for the execution of the scrolls, and he recommended his teacher Wang Hui (1632-1717) to Kangxi for the Southern Tour project. Wang Hui, the chief designer and draftsman of the scrolls, was one of the renowned landscape painters of the early Qing period and a native of Changshu, Jiangsu. His zi was Shigu, and his hao included Gengyan shanren, Jianmen qiaoke, Wumu shanren, and Qinghui laoren. Wang Hui, Wang Shimin, Wang Jian, and Wang Yuanqi were known as the Four Wangs; in turn, these four, Wu Li, and Yun Shouping were together known as the Six Masters of the Early Qing. Shiqinggao mentions that Wang Hui “through his verbal instructions and personal demonstration, pictured a thousand miles within a few feet, divided the composition among the various painters, and synthesized their work.” The Qing writer Chen Zufan, in his Memorial on Master Wang Gengyan[that is, Wang Hui] describes the process in greater detail: “[Wang] painted The Southern Tour. All the skilled painters of the realm gathered at the capital. Having mixed their ink, wetted their brushes, and laid down their silk, they simply looked at each other, not having courage to paint and waiting patiently for Master Wang to give his signal. Wearing his grass-woven robe loosely, Master took the foremost seat, and for a long period gazed intensely and concentrated his mind. Then he instructed the painters, ‘Set the capital here, and set the mountains and streams here. [Paint] some figures eagerly awaiting the emperor’s arrival, some following him obediently, some clearing the emperor’s path, and some on their return trip.’ He enumerated the topographical variations of several thousand miles and the twists and turns of the path, and then the design was complete. The various painters followed his compositions diligently. Master then added some flourishes to the paintings to enliven them.” Very pleased with the completed scrolls, the Kangxi Emperor bestowed on Wang Hui the charactersShanshui qinghui (“Landscape Clear and Radiant”), from which Wang derived his late hao Qinghui laoren.

The following painters also participated in the creation of the Southern Tour scrolls:
Yang Jin (1644-1728), zi Zihe, hao Xiting, was a fellow townsman and student of Wang Hui. He went to the capital with his teacher. He is recorded to have “accompanied Shigu [Wang Hui] on his travels as a student and learnt painting from him. [Wang Hui] tasked him with the painting of all the figures, carriages and bridges, camels and horses, and so on.”  

Wang Yun (1652-?), zi Hanzao, hao Qingchi, Wen’an, was a native of Gao’you, Jiangsu. He was skilled at painting landscapes, figures, architecture, and had a conscientious manner. He was friendly with Wang Hui, and is recorded to have participated in the Southern Tour project (according to Peng Baiyun’s colophon on Wang Yunhua’s Xiuyuan tu).

Leng Mei (ca. 1670-1742), zi Jichen, biehao Jinmen huashi, was a native of Jiaozhou, Shandong. He served at the courts of the Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong emperors. A student of the court paint Jiao Bingzhen, Leng Mei was skilled at painting figures, court ladies, landscapes, and bird-and-flower subjects, and had a refined and luxuriously colorful style. Jiaozhou zhirecords that he participated in the Southern Tour project.

Wang Hui, Yang Jin, Xu Mei, Yu Yuan, Wang Yun, Wu Zhi, and Gu Fang collaboratively painted Peaches, Birds, and Fish, dated to 1693, during the production of the Southern Tour scrolls. These painters very likely were part of the project. The Kangxi-era high official Gao Shiqi owned an album of leaves by Wang Hui, Song Junye, Yang Jin, Xu Mei, and Gu Fang, and inscribed on it that “In the yihai and bingzi years [1695-1696], a number of skillful painters gathered at the capital to paint the Southern Tour scrolls.” This inscription confirms that Song Junye, Yang Jin, Xu Mei, and Xu Fang worked on the project.2

As we have seen, the Southern Tour scrolls were produced collaboratively by a number of painters under the leadership of Wang Hui. This mode of production was common for Qing-dynasty court paintings.

The content and artistic characteristics of The Kangxi Emperors Southern Tour
The Southern Tour scrolls are a masterpiece of early-Qing court painting. Measuring over 200 meters in total, the scrolls depict the notable natural sights and cities along the emperor’s journey, including over a thousand human figures and animals and a rich variety of topographical features and professions. The sheer magnitude and richness of the scrolls’ is rare among classical Chinese paintings. Organized around the emperor’s daily itinerary according to the qijuzhu format of court records, the scrolls faithfully record the sites and major events of the Southern Tour. Kangxi appears once in each scroll at a slightly larger scale than other figures to indicate his superior status. As each scroll unrolls, it reveals rich details of topography, scenic sites, and local customs, offering a comprehensive picture of the social, economic, and cultural conditions of the time. The Southern Tour scrolls are thus equally a historical and ethnographic document and a masterwork of art.

The Kangxi Emperors Southern Tour narrates the emperor’s journey visually in the horizontal scroll format. It follows the compositional format of the renowned Qingming shanghe tu by the Northern Song painter Zhang Zeduan, but unlike the latter is divided among multiple scrolls. The scrolls are each self-contained but are interconnected as a whole. Each scroll may depict what events and journey of a day, several days, or one or two weeks, preserving narrative continuity while transcending the constraints of space and time. The paintings depict the major events and scenes in great detail and selectively summarize and condense the scenery along the way. Perspective shifts flexibly according to representational needs: “level distance,” “deep distance,” and multi-point perspective tend to be used in the distant landscape scenes to accentuate their majesty. In the urban segments, by contrast, the paintings tend to take a bird’s-eye view to encompass entire cityscapes. Qianlong Emperors Southern Tour and Prosperous Suzhou (Gusu fanhua tu) of the Qianlong period preserve these formal features.

The current condition of the Kangxi Emperors Southern Tour scrolls
The Kangxi Emperors Southern Tour is a documentary painting that includes the emperor’s appearance. According to regulations of the Qing court, any portrait of a deceased emperor had to be sent to Shouwangdian on Jingshan for veneration, and indeed the Southern Tour scrolls were stored there for over 200 years after Kangxi’s death. In 1900, invading Beijing, the Allied Forces of Eight Nations occupied imperial palaces such as Yingtai and Shouwangdian and looted many treasures of the imperial collection, including the imperial portraits housed at Shouwangdian. The Kangxi Emperors Southern Tour were then dispersed. The sixth edition of Gugong wenpin diancha baogao, issued by the Palace Museum in 1919, records the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and first scrolls, which were entered into the museum’s collection. In the 1950’s, the museum received the twelfth scroll, which had been donated by Jin Bosheng, from the Ministry of Culture.

Among the scrolls that had left the Forbidden City and are known to be extant, the second and fourth scrolls are at the Guimet Museum in Paris; the third at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; and the seventh part of the Mactaggard Art Collection of the University of Alberta, Canada. The locations of the fifth and eighth scrolls are unknown.3 In recent years, fragments of the sixth scroll have gradually appeared, which is fortunate.

The first scroll covers Kangxi’s journey from Yongdingmen to Nanyuan. Kangxi rides on a white horse and is surrounded by a large group of guards. A ceremonial formation of carriages and elephants lines his path to the temporary palace at Nanyuan. Yongdingmen and Nanyuan are named in the painting.

The second scroll covers the journey of Kangxi’s retinue from Beijing to Jinan, Shandong.

The third scroll depicts the distance from Jinan through Tai’an to Mount Tai. Kangxi stands on the city wall of Jinan and inspects what is ahead of him. The walled city of Jinan, Kaishan Temple, Zhangxia, Mount Tai, Tai’an Prefecture, and Mengyang County are labeled.

The fourth scroll depicts Kangxi leading officials to inspect the flooding of the Yellow River and Huai River. The labeled locations and scenes are: Honghuapu, “the Emperor examines the drought in Pizhou,” Suqian County, “the Emperor inspects a dike,” the Yellow River, the intersection of Yellow River and Huai River, and “the Emperor inspects Gaojiayan.”

The locations depicted in the fifth and sixth scrolls are not entirely clear. Records of Kangxi’s journey suggest that they should encompass locations from Yangzhou, through Zhenjiang and Danyang, to Changzhou.

The seventh scroll depicts the distance from Huishan and Xishan to Suzhou. Kangxi disembarks his imperial boat, which is anchored outside the Chang Gate of Suzhou. The labeled locations are: Mount Jiulong, the Qin Garden, Huishan Temple, Xishan, Huangpodun, Wuxi County, Yaotou, Xin’an, the Hushu Pass, Wenchangge, Fengqiao, Hanshan Temple, Bantang Temple, Guandi Temple, Shantang, Zhenzhuo Bridge, Tiger Hill, Wanshou Temple, its Main Hall, the Chang Gate of Suzhou Prefecture, Huangpengfang, Gao Bridge, Yuanmiao Daoist Temple, Miluoge, and the Imperial Manufactory.

The eighth scroll is at an unknown location and should depict Kangxi’s journey from Jiaxing to Hangzhou.

The ninth scroll depicts Kangxi and his retinue after their crossing of the Qiantang River and arrival at Shaoxing Prefecture. Accompanied by guards, the emperor leaves the city of Shaoxing to conduct rituals at the Mausoleum of Yu the Great. The labeled locations are: a tea pavilion, Xixing Pass, Xixing Relay Station, Xiaoshan County, Keqiao Township, Shaoxing Prefecture, Jiaochang, Mount Fu, Yuewang Gazebo, Zhendong Pavilion, the Temple of Yu the Great, and the Mausoleum of Yu the Great.

The tenth scroll depicts the northward trip from Zhejiang to Jiangning Prefecture. The frontispiece mentions that Kangxi has conducted rituals at the Mausoleum of Emperor Taizu of the Ming Dynasty. The labeled locations and scenes are: Jurong County, Taipingzhuang, Moling Pass, Tongji Gate, Qinhuai River, Chaoku Street, Examination Hall, Confucius Temple, Sanshan Street, Old Palace, Inner Bridge, Tongxian Bridge, “bestowing silk on an old man,” Jiaochang, Guandi Temple, Jiming Temple, Bell Mountain, “commoners offering fruit,” Terrace for Astronomical Observations, Taipinghui, Storehouse of Household Records, and Rear Lake.

The eleventh scroll depicts the crossing of Changjiang from Swallow Rock at Jiangnin Prefecture. Kangxi rides on a dragon boat along the river and is guarded by boats of a variety of sizes. The labeled locations are: Bao’en Temple, Shuixi Gate, Hanxi Gate, Shitoucheng, Hongji Temple, Guanyin Gate, Guandi Temple, Swallow Rock, Dajiang, Liujiashan, Yizhen County, and Jinshan.

The twelfth scroll depicts the return to Beijing through Yongdingmen. Kangxi arrives at Zhengyangmen on a carriage and is accompanied by an orderly formation of followers. At the rear of his retinue are representatives of the Four Occupations—gentry, peasants, craftspeople, and merchants—forming the four characters Tianzi wannian (“Long Live the Son of Heaven”), which announce the conclusion of the Southern Tour festivities. The labeled scenes include: Taihemen, Wumen, Duanmen, Tiananmen, Taiqingmen, Zhengyangmen, and Yongdingmen. At the end of the scroll is Song Junye’s essay “A Record of theSouthern Tour scrolls,” inscribed by the imperial decree by Sun Yue. This is followed by the inscription “mounted during thewuzi month of the forty-seventh year of the Kangi reign by imperial decree.”

The condition of the fragments of the sixth scroll
Three different sections of the sixth scroll of The Kangxi Emperors Southern Tour surfaced in 2009, 2012, and 2016 respectively. They are painted on silk and of identical height and painting style, but differ in length.

Fragment one:
This fragment measures 68 cm in height and 362 in width and comes with an intact silk backing bearing the label, “The sixth scroll of the Southern Tour: crossing the river from Guanzhou to Jinshan, passing through Changzhou Prefecture.” The label’s format is identical to the format of labels on the other scrolls. The fragment opens with Jiaoshan, a small island on Changjiang, shrouded in mist. Along the river are boats of various sizes. The viewer then encounters a shore and a section of a city wall, whose gate is open and decorated. Officials and commoners pass through the gate, which opens to a road that leads to a pier by the river. Above the city gate is a label reading “Guazhou.” Further ahead, the boats become more densely packed, and a large island with jagged rocks and luxuriant vegetation appears in the middle of the river, labeled “Jinshan.” Atop Jinshan is a high pagoda, and on the level ground at its base are decorative scaffolds. On the mountainside is a white jade platform, on which a revered figure stands under a yellow umbrella and surrounded by officials and servants. Although the figure’s face is extremely small, one can still recognize from his dignified composure and dress that he is none other than Kangxi himself.

Fragment two:
This fragment measures 68 cm in height and 250 cm in length. It opens with a quiet misty scene on Changjiang in which many boats are scattered. Further ahead, the magnificent scenery of the south shore of Changjiang appears, with its beautiful vegetation and fluttering flags. A crowd bustles on a pier, awaiting the emperor’s arrival. Beigu Mountain, Iron Pagoda of Ganlu Temple, and Yinshanmen Pier, all famous sites of Zhenjiang, are labeled.

Fragment three:
This fragment measures 68 cm in height and 475.3 cm in length. It ends with a city gate. In front of the gate is an arrow-shaped tower, and further ahead a label reading “Changzhou Prefecture.” This fragment seems to be the conclusion of the sixth scroll of The Kangxi Emperors Southern Tour. In painting style, it is consistent with the rest of the set, depicting dense populations and Jiangnan scenery. In particular, a few large trees in this fragment show clear traces of Wang Hui’s painting style.4

The first and second fragments are continuous, but the third fragment does not follow them immediately, indicating a lost intervening segment. Although the three fragments total over 10 meters in length, they remain shorter than the complete scrolls, which measure 15 to 20 meters. It is clear from the above that the sixth scroll of The Kangxi Emperors Southern Tourwas cut into four or more segments. The extant fragments are in good condition. It is hoped that the remainder is cherished and will surface and rejoin the other fragments someday.

Notes:
1. See Shenzu shilu.
2. Nie Chongzheng, “Kangxi nanxun tu zuozhe xinzheng”, in Rongbaizhai, no. 4, 2003.
3. Nie Chongzheng, “Tan Kangxi nanxun tu juan,” in Meishu yanjiu, no. 4, 1989.
4. Nie Chongzheng, “Xin jian Kangxi nanxun tu di liu juan canben kao,” in Wenwu, no. 8, 2013.

The energy and enthusiasm in the sales room this evening was not limited to The Kangxi Emperor's Southern Inspection Tour. Wang Yuanqi’s Landscape of Yushan, an ink on paper hanging scroll, saw as many as seven bidders. Following lively jump bidding, collectors continued to compete until it finally sold to a telephone bidder for $2,110,000 (estimate $350/550,000). Shen Zhou’s Enjoying the Mid-Autumn Moon in the Bamboo Villa also achieved a noteworthy price. Estimated at $1.8/2.5 million, this two part handscroll, beautifully merged a painting of three men seated beside a riverbank with a heartfelt poem about the mid-Autumn Festival composed and written by the artist in calligraphy, sold for $2,170,000.

3

4

Lot 530. Shen Zhou (1427-1509), Enjoying The Mid-Autumn Moon In The Bamboo Villa, ink on paper, handscroll; (painting) 29.3 by 92 cm. 11 1/2  by 36 1/4  in.; (calligraphy) 29 by 1020 cm. 11 3/8  by 401 1/2  in. Estimate $1,800,000 - 2,500,000. Lot sold $2,170,000 (£1,640,832) to an American Private. Photo Sotheby's.  

signed Baishiweng Shen Zhou, with two seals of the artist, bu yi zhi shi, qi nan. Titleslip by Shen Zhen (Qing dynasty), signed liu an. Frontispiece by Li Yingzhen (1431-1493), signed Zhenbo, with one seal, yu lan zhai yin. Colophon by Shen Zhen (undated), signed Shen Zhen, dated jiachen, with three seals of the artist, liu an guo yan, shen zhen, liu an. With one collector's seal of Ma Yuelu (1697-1761), ma ban chai shi mi ji zhi yin, and three other collectors' seals, mei hua shu hua zhen shang, wang shi zhen cang shu hua yin, dan tu zou shi jia cang shu hua yin

ProvenanceKaikodo Journal, New York, Autumn 1996, cat. 6, pp. 18-21, 209

Exhibited1. Journeys on Paper and Silk: The Roy and Marilyn Papp Collection of Chinese Painting, Phoenix Art Museum, February 28-April 19, 1998
2. Lyrical Traditions: Four Centuries of Chinese Paintings from the Papp Collection, The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, June 22-October 7, 2007
3. Hidden Meanings of Love and Death in Chinese Painting: Selections from the Marilyn and Roy Papp Collection, Phoenix Art Museum, April 27-September 2, 2013

Literature1. Shitian Shixuanjuan 1, (Qinding Siku Quanshu Huiyao, ji part, pp. 7-8)
2. Sun Chengze, Gengzi Xiaoxia Jijuan 3, Shanghai: Guji Chubanshe, 2011, p. 70
3. Chen Zhenghong, "Chronicle of Shen Zhou", in Duoyun, 1991, vol. 28, p. 103
4. John C. Ferguson, Lidai Zhulu Huamu, Nanjing: Reseach center of Chinese culture at Jinling University, 1934, p. 157
5. Journeys on Paper and Silk: The Roy and Marilyn Papp Collection of Chinese Painting, Phoenix Art Museum, 1998, cat. 1, pp. 18-21
6. Chun-yi Lee, Quest for Immortality: Shen Zhou's Watching the Mid-Autumn Moon at Bamboo Villa(Master's thesis), Arizona State University, 2004
7. Chun-yi Lee, "The Daoist Symbolism of Immortality in Shen Zhou's Watching the Mid-Autumn Moon at Bamboo Villa", in Claudia Brown (Ed.), Myriad Points of View, Arizona State University, Phoebus 9, 2006, fig. 2, 3, 6, pp. 49-78
8. Chun-yi Lee, The Immortal Brush: Daoism and the Art of Shen Zhou (1427-1509) (Doctoral dissertation), Arizona State University, 2009, pp. 208-238
9. Hidden Meanings of Love and Death in Chinese Painting: Selections from the Marilyn and Roy Papp Collection, Phoenix Art Museum, 2013, cat. 15, pp. 70-72, 76, 88
10. Claudia Brown, Melissa Button and Mark Pomilio (Eds.), Inverse Conversations: Tradition RE/formed,Phoenix Art Museum, 2015, p. 64

Enjoying the Mid-Autumn Moon
Howard Rogers

“The young do not distinguish the mid-autumn moon, and view it as no different from that of other times; When older we become partial and feel a mutual attachment, desiring it to return in response, we love this auspicious festival.
How many more mid-autumn moons can an old man experience, for true it is that flowing time cannot be stayed; Always it is the people who change, never the moon, the old moon with new people is like a horse with an ox in heat.
With wine in the jug there is happiness, when cups are passed around none refuse; The fullness of the moon returns like the fullness of a person's life, thus do people disappear, just like the waning of the moon.
One sees and gradually realizes that there are fewer old men, so if I use the moonlight to roam at night, how can I be blamed? Loudly singing T'ai-po's (Li Po) 'Query to the Moon', I boast that white hair has bested the green spring of youth.
Green springed youth and white hair are certainly not equal, so bravely grasp the rippling wine and drink to the moon; This old man has reached the age of sixty years, but I still ask the mid-autumn (moon) to lend me forty more.
While enjoying the mid-autumn moon, P'u Ju-cheng and the rest of us composed poems. Ju-cheng brought out paper and asked me to paint a small picture and to write as its end. Shen Chou, from Ch'ang-chou and called Pai-shih-weng, wrote this in the P'ing-an Pavilion of Yu-chu-chuang.”

The simplicity of the presentation, in which much defining detail from the natural world is omitted, increases the visual impact of what is portrayed, including the blunt texture stokes and concise dots out of which the riverbank and rocks are constructed. Much of this approach is based on the style of Wu Chen (1280-1354), the Yuan master who was a particular favorite of Shen Chou. One of Wu’s paintings bears a colophon by Shen attesting to his admiration: “I love the old Plum-blossom (Taoist) who inherited the heart-imprint of old Chu-(jan); Cultivating this water-and-ink affinity, in everything he captured antique richness. The trees and rocks proceeding from the tip of his brush, would not be regretted by Nature itself; So today, beneath this chestnut, I vow to grasp the broom and sprinkle water (as a disciple). The latter-day student, Shen Chou.” 

Many of Shen Chou’s paintings were done in commemoration of poetic gatherings, such as that in 1469 with friends Liu Chueh (1410-1472), Chu Hao (1405-1482), Chou Ting, and Wei Ch’ang-lien, and the festival of Mid-Autumn Moon was among the most special of these occasions. In common with many Shen Chou’s handscrolls, including the present example, the artist signed not the painting itself but rather the long inscription that follows the painting on separate paper. 

The present painting is discussed by Sun Ch’eng-tse (1593-1675) under the title “Enjoying the Moon in the Yu-chu Chuang, ‘Villa with Bamboo’.” “When Shih-weng (Shen Chou) designed his Villa with Bamboo, he wrote out a prayer so as to summon the bamboo, which was a very telling thing to do. This picture was done in the P’ing-an T’ing, ‘Pavilion of Contented Peace,’ within the villa while Shih-weng and P’u Ju-cheng, were enjoying the mid-autumn moon. The brush and ink-work are very clear and superior. Following that is a long song that was worthy of inclusion in Pai’s Su-(chou) collection (of poems). The characters are as large as bowls and resemble those of Huang Lu-chi (Huang T’ing-chien, 1045-1105) – truly inspired brushwork…” 

A variant of this poem appears on a painting done some years later by Shen Chou; here his friend P’u Ju-cheng is not mentioned but rather a certain Shu-an, “Hut of Expansion.” If, as seems likely, Shen Chou was writing the poem from memory, he may have used a nickname to refer to P’u Ju-cheng, or he could have changed the poem in details so as to make it suitable for presentation to another person on a different occasion. In any case, the painting in the Museum of Fine Arts bears a second poem by Shen Chou that is signed: “Shen Chou did this again. One can see the happiness of the event, but the poem is not worth preserving.” The second poem (Figure 1), which mentions the menu of crab claws, fish and wine as well as the moon and songs, was thus held sufficient by the artist to conjure the pleasure of the event but was considered not so good a poem as the first, which was rewritten for the later occasion.
(Excerpt from Kaikodo Journal, Autumn 1996)

5

Wu Zhen (Chinese, 1280-1354), Poetic Feeling in a Thatched Pavilion, 1347, handscroll, ink on paper, Image - h:23.80 w:99.40 cm (h:9 5/16 w:39 1/8 inches). Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1963.259. Cleveland Museum of Art© Cleveland Museum of Art

Note: Pu Zheng, zi Ruzheng and Yingxiang, hao Shu’an. His ancestors migrated south during the Song Dynasty, and his clan had lived in Loumen ever since.

Mentioned above, Shen Zhou’s Watching the Mid-Autumn Moon at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, bears an inscription by the painter that is very similar to the one on the present work. The last two lines on the Boston painting are: “Shu’an and I are men of sixty years / I ask the mid-autumn for forty more.” The last two lines on the present work are: “I, an old man, am sixty years old / I further give mid-autumn forty more.” This suggests that the two paintings date from the same year. Watching the Mid-Autumn Moon bears another poetic inscription by Shen Zhou:
"In a farmhouse, we held a small banquet to enjoy autumn: Crabs and fish freshly offered by the stream.
Glorious is the moon in the blue sky; The five elders were all white-haired.
We exchanged many cups of wine, Laughing and conversing about our homes, we expressed ourselves genuinely.
We did not return home until we were thoroughly drunk; The wind and dew did not touch our head cloths."
Shen Zhou recreated this experience so that its pleasures could be seen, although his poetry was not worthy of circulation.”
On a separate inscription on the painting, Zhu Yunping wrote:
"As ten thousand households shone together with the autumn moon, We enjoyed the music and celebrated our friendships at your home.
The wine-drinking was in a strict order of seniority; To the poetic topics we responded as equals.
It was amusing to see small Nephew Xian hit the drum, Supported by Nephew Wei of the clear voice.
It is said that Nanmei had many lofty gatherings. Why did only friends and students accompany those returning?"

Based on the descriptions of the joyful festivities in the present work and in Watching the Mid-Autumn Moon, we can make the following conjecture: in 1486, Shen Zhou was sixty years old. On a day before the Mid-Autumn Festival, Shen Zhou hosted a banquet at his residence. It so happened that Pu Ruzheng was visiting. Host and guest experienced the four pleasures of good time, beautiful scenery, relaxed mood, and enjoyable events before parting ways. Shen Zhou was then inspired to paintWatching the Mid-Autumn Moon and write the poem that begins with “In my youth I did not recognize the mid-autumn moon.” The poem ends by mentioning that he and Pu Ruzheng were both sixty years old. At night on the following day, that is the Mid-Autumn Festival, Shen Zhou, Pu Ruzheng, and another friend appreciated the moon in Ping’an Pavilion in the bamboo garden that Shen Zhou’s family had lived for generations. After lamenting the passage of time, Shen Ruzheng produced a small piece of paper and sought a small landscape from Shen Zhou. In spite of its simple and minimalist composition, this painting is deeply meaningful and evokes the scene of Shen and Pu’s meeting. The brushwork is spare but robust, infused with “bone method” and demonstrating a strong technical foundation. The ink tones are light but elegant, refreshing, and no less gentle and nourished than Wu Zhen’s. As Sun Chengze said, “[Shen Zhou’s] brushwork is even purer and thus superior.” On that night, the moon was white and round like a disc, and the stars were dense like an embroidered brocade. After conversing with his friends about home, Shen Zhou accepted the requests to paint. Because he copied Wu Zhen’s works throughout his life, his brushwork naturally reflected Wu Zhen’s manner. This small leaf can even be said to capture the essence of Wu Zhen’s Poetic Ideas at Caoting (fig. 1): whether in composition, brushwork, or ink work. Shen Zhou’s work shows an unconscious harking back to Wu Zhen. After finishing the painting, Shen Zhou was still in an expressive mood, and so he wrote the long poem from the previous night again in Huang Tingjian’s manner. The poem laments the passage of time, but is rendered through vigorous and masterful control. Shen Zhou projected his emotions onto a natural scene, which he then painted using Wu Zhen’s manner, and augmented with a poem written in the style of Huang Tingjian. He gave the result to his bosom friend. Shen Zhou’s work remains particularly evocative of the Mid-Autumn Festival five hundred and thirty years later.

6

Lot 568. Wang Yuanqi (1642-1715), Landscape Of Yushan, ink on paper, hanging scroll, 128.5 by 57 cm. 51 by 22 1/2  in. Estimate $350,000 - 550,000. Lot sold $2,110,000 (£1,595,463) to an Asian Private. Photo Sotheby's. 

Exhibited: 1. Scent of Ink: The Roy and Marilyn Papp Collection of Chinese Painting, Phoenix Art Museum, September 2-October 9, 1994; The Chrysler Museum, Virginia, November 13, 1994-January 8, 1995; Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst, Berlin, September 9-November 11, 1995; Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, December 15, 1995-February 18, 1996; China Institute, New York, February 4-June 10, 1998
2. Le Parfum de l'encre: Peintures Chinoises de la Collection Roy et Marilyn Papp, Musée Cernuschi, September 23-December 30, 1999
3. Lyrical Traditions: Four Centuries of Chinese Paintings from the Papp Collection, The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, June 22-October 7, 2007

Liteature1. Shina Nan-ga Tai-sei, vol. 10, Tokyo: Kobunsha, 1935, pl. 76
2. Osvald Sirén, Chinese Painting: Leading Masters and Principles, vol. VII, New York: The Ronald Press Company, 1956, p. 439
3. Jason Guo, Wang Yuanqi de Shanshuihua Yishu, Taibei: National Palace Museum, 1981, pl. 8, p. 143
4. Xu Bangda, Gaiding Lidai Liuchuan Huihua Biannianbiao, Shanghai: Renmin Meishu Chubanshe, 1995, p. 201
5. Scent of Ink: The Roy and Marilyn Papp Collection of Chinese Painting, Phoenix Art Museum1994, cat. 22, pp. 65-67
6. Le Parfum de l'encre: Peintures Chinoises de la Collection Roy et Marilyn Papp, 1999, Musée Cernuschi, 1999, cat. 24, p. 83
7. Claudia Brown, Great Qing: Painting in China, 1644-1911, University of Washington Press, 2014, fig. 2.6, p. 42

7

8

Lot 533. Gu Fuzhen (1634-After 1716), Seeking Instruction At Jingjiang, ink and color on paper, handscroll. Estimate $50,000 - 70,000. Lot sold $1,210,000 (£914,934) to an Asian Private. Record for artist at auctionPhoto Sotheby's. 

with one seal of the artist, chen zhen se ru
Frontispiece by Song Cao (1620-1701), signed Sheling yishi Songcao, dated jisi (1689), the tenth lunar month, with a dedication to Xu Yongxi (1657-after 1736) and three seals, she ling, song cao tu shu, huai nan jiu shi
Inscription on mounting border before painting by Jiang Chenying (1628-1699), signed Siming Jiang Chenying, dated jiaxu (1694), autumn, with three seals, zhi ci shi xue, jiang chen ying yin, xi ming; Sun Xiang (1657-1740), signed Sun Xiang, dated jiaxu (1694), the twelfth lunar month, with two seals, chen xiang, zi wei shi; Liu Huizu (17th century), signed Longmian di Liu Huizu, with a dedication to Xu Yongxi and two seals, hui zu, jing shan
Inscription on paper before painting by Xiang Congzhong (17th century), signed Shanyang Huiju Xiang Congzhong, with a dedication to Xu Yongxi and three seals, lian ju, cong zhong, tian fang; Song Gongyi (17th century), signed Zi’an di Song Gongyi, dated renshen (1692), the tenth lunar month, with a dedication to Xu Yongyi and three seals, he yin shu tai, song gong yi yin, zhi gong bie hao zi an; Yu Mei (unidentified), signedJinsha dongyuan di Yu Mei, with one seal, yu mei
Inscription on painting by He Zhuo (1661-1722), signed He Zhuo, dated jiaxu (1694), summer, with a dedication and one seal, zhuo; Xu Yongxi (1657-after 1736), signed Xiaxiang Xu Xin, dated jisi, the fourteenth day of the tenth lunar month (November 25, 1689), with two seals, xu xin zi tan chang, jia zai ling shan di yi feng; Song Cao, signed Yishi Songcao, with three seals, huai nan yi lao, song cao si yin, she ling
Inscription on mounting border after painting by Fang Zhengyu (1654-1734), signed Hezhou di Fang Zhengyu, with a dedication to Xu Yongxi, with three seals, he zhou, bao yu, one illegible
Colophons by Wu Yueyan (17th century), signed Hualing Qiaoren Wu Yueyan, dated jisi, summer solstice (June 21, 1689), with a dedication to Xu Yongxi, with two seals, yue yan si yin, gu hu wu ji shu; Liu Yan (unidentified), signed Jiangpu Liu Yan, with three seals, mo fu chu xin, liu yan, zi da shan; Yu Mei, signedCuiwei shizhe Yuanyi, dated jiaxu (1694), spring, with a dedication to Xu Yongxi and two seals, bing bei bing, yu mei; Xu Shicheng (unidentified), signed Moling Shicheng, with a dedication to Xu Yongxi and three seals,wo wu nan chuang xia, xu shi cheng yin, chong mo; Fang Zhengru (unidentified), signed Longmian di Fang Zhengru, with a dedication to Xu Yongxi, and three seals, wu jia shi , zheng ru, yu an; Dai Mingshi (1653-1713), signed Tongcheng Dai Mingshi, with one seal, ming shi; Lü Gaopei (17th century), signed Xishan Lü Gaopei, with three seals, di er quan, bai ting, da mao xian; Xu Che (17th century), signed Xu Che, with a dedication to Xu Yongxi and two seals, xu che si yin, yang gu; Meng Renhao (unidentified), signed Shanyin Meng Renhao, with three seals, da ya, ren hao tu shu, meng lin cang shi; Zhu Gao (17th century), signed Xishan di Zhu Gao, dated dingchou (1697), spring, with three seals, jia zai wei lan tian, zhu gao zhi yin, one illegible
With nine collector’s seals of Xu Yongxi, dong hai xin yin, tan chang, xu yong xi yin, zhou tang, xiu lin shan fang, dong hai zhuang fu, tan chang yin zhang, zhou tang, tan chang; one collector’s seal of Wu Shixian (18th century), gu xin tang yin; one collector’s seal of Wang Jiaotai (Qing dynasty), shi mu yuan; and four other collectors’ seals, bu min tang, bai tai qing xia, qi shi xuan, zui gu tang zhu ren cang

Exhibited: 1. Journeys on Paper and Silk: The Roy and Marilyn Papp Collection of Chinese Painting, Phoenix Art Museum, February 28-April 19, 1998
2. Lyrical Traditions: Four Centuries of Chinese Paintings from the Papp Collection, The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, June 22-October 7, 2007
3. Intimate Escapes: Navigating Social Currents in Ming-Qing China, Phoenix Art Museum, Spring 2010

Literature: 1. Journeys on Paper and Silk: The Roy and Marilyn Papp Collection of Chinese Painting, Phoenix Art Museum, 1998, cat. 31, pp. 90-91
2. Claudia Brown, Great Qing: Painting in China, 1644-1911, University of Washington Press, 2014, fig. 1.11, p. 14

Note'Xu Yongxi was indisputably the first owner and the initiator of the scroll. His own inscription, at the end of the painting portion of the scroll, makes it quite clear. He was unable to forget the time he had spent in Zhenjiang, pursuing scholarship under the tutelage of Master Gao Dongsheng, and the marvelous scenery of the region. Much as he had become a devoted disciple of Li Guangdi (1642-1718), a major figure in Qing intellectual history, this early phase of the study remained vividly etched in his memory. For some time, he harbored in his mind the theme of "Seeking Instruction at Jingjiang," waiting for the right painter to come along. While in Huaiyin, he chanced to meet Gu Fuzhen who, as Xu mentioned, was skilled in the method of "silk thread from a spring silk worm," a clear reference to the legendary Gu Kaizhi and also an appropriate description of the pictorial approach used by the artist in this scroll. That meeting resulted in a fine work, an exquisite depiction of the Jin, Jiao and Beigu Mountains in the vicinity of Zhenjiang, across the vast Yangzi River. The use of the blue-green further lends a jade-like light hue for these landmarks while imbuing the painting with subtle hints of a bygone era. Although the images appear crystal clear, the silence around them produces an eerie calm, invoking either a sense of a dream or of memories long lost that turn luminous for a brief moment before vanishing again.'
Journeys on Paper and Silk, pp. 90-91

9

10

Lot 571. Wang Gai ( Active Circa 1679-1705), An Estate By The City Of Qi, ink and color on silk, handscroll, 29.4 by 189.7 cm. 11 5/8  by 76 5/8  in. Estimate $50,000 - 70,000. Lot sold $1,090,000 (£824,197) to an Asian Private. Record for artist at auctionPhoto Sotheby's. 

signed Xiushui Wang Gai, dated jiaxu (1694), spring, with two seals of the artist, wang gai, an jie
Colophons by Wu Shuzi (17th century), signed Wu Shuzi, with two seals of An Zhen, qing, shi, and two seals of Wu Shuzi, wu shu zi yin, wu de; Ying Zhi (17th century), signed Ying Zhi, with two seals, yu an ying zhi, xiao shi zong bo; Gong Zhiyi (17th century), signed Gong Zhiyi, dated yihai (1695), winter, with three seals, qiu ting, gong zhi yi yin, qiao yan; Gu Xing (17th century), signed Gu Xing, dated yihai (1695), with three seals, du kou lao yü, gu xing, gu shi you xing; Chen Yuwang (17th century), with three seals, yan tian, yu wang zhi yin, dai fu; Cao Mu (18th century), signed Cao Mu, with three seals, zao ban tian she, cao mu, zhong yi; Cao Zhan, signed Cao Zhan, with three seals, qu ji, cao zhan, lu fan; Gong Zhidan (18th century), signed Gong Zhidan, dated yihai (1695), winter, with three seals, zui dao hai tang shen chu, he fei gong zhi dan tu zhang, yi chong hao yue ou ting; Li Chengzhong (18th century), signed Li Chengzhong, with three seals, li cheng zhong yin, yu cun, he ya; Zhou Zaijun (18th century) signed Zhou Zaijun, with three seals, nai an, zhou zai jun, li zhao; Zhou Zaijian (18th century), signed Zhou Zaijian, dated yihai (1695), with three seals, xiao an, zai jian zhi yin, rong ke; Fa Zhen (18th century), signed Dianyan Fa Zhen, with three seals, le shan, fa zhen si yin, sui yuan; Jin Dechun (18th century), signed Jin Dechun, dated dingchou (1697), with one seal, jin su gong; Shen Mingsun (18th century), signed Shen Mingsun, with three seals, shi qi xiang cao, shen ming sun, jian fang shi; Zhang Daoyi (18th century), signed Qianyi (twice), with four seals, shu yuan, zhang dao yi, zhi song, zhang qian yi zhi song yin 

Exhibited: 1. Journeys on Paper and Silk: The Roy and Marilyn Papp Collection of Chinese Painting, Phoenix Art Museum, February 28-April 19, 1998
2. Lyrical Traditions: Four Centuries of Chinese Paintings from the Papp Collection, The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, June 22-October 7, 2007
3. Intimate Escapes: Navigating Social Currents in Ming-Qing China, Phoenix Art Museum, Summer 2009

LiteratureJourneys on Paper and Silk: The Roy and Marilyn Papp Collection of Chinese Painting, Phoenix Art Museum, 1998, cat. 29, pp. 86-87

11

12

Lot 575. Jiang Pu (1708-1761), Scenes Of Dengwei Mountain, ink and color on paper, a pair of handscrolls; 10.4 by 75.5 cm. 4 by 29 3/4  in. (2). Estimate $20,000 - 40,000. Lot sold $586,000 (£443,100) to an Asian Private. Record for artist at auctionPhoto Sotheby's.

both scrolls signed Jiang Pu, with two seals of the artist, chen pu (2)
both scrolls with colophons by Prince Hongzhan (1733-1765), signed Guo Qinwang (twice), datedbingzi (1756), the ninth lunar month and the leap month, with two seals, guo qin wang shu (2), tian dan (2)Gu Wenbin (1811-1889), signed Gu Wenbin (twice), dated guihai, the fifteenth day of the seventh month (August 28, 1863), with two seals, wen bin zhi yin (2), zi shan

13

Lot 600. Leng Mei (Active 1691-1742), Nine White Egrets, ink and color on silk, hanging scroll; 165.3 by 96.5 cm. 65 by 38 in.  Estimate $28,000 - 48,000. Lot sold $550,000 (£415,879) to an Asian Private. Record for artist at auctionPhoto Sotheby's.

signed Jinmen Huashi Leng Mei, dated yisi (1725) of the Yongzheng reign, spring, with three seals of the artist, leng mei zi ji chen, jin men hua shi, one illegible
Titleslip by Cheng Qi (1911-after 1988), signed Shuangsong lou 

Provenance: Christie's New York, Fine Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy, June 4, 1986, lot 75

Exhibited: 1. Heritage of the Brush: The Roy and Marilyn Papp Collection of Chinese Painting, Phoenix Art Museum, March 18- May 7, 1989; Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, Northwestern University, March 8-April 22, 1990; Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University, September 28-November 24, 1991; Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, October 25-December 27, 1992; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio, April 18-June 20, 1993; Elvehjem Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison, January 29-March 20, 1994; Crocker Art Museum, California, October 30-December 31, 1997; Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, January 31-March 28, 1999; Fleming Museum of Art, University of Vermont, October 3-Decmber 10, 2000
2. Lyrical Traditions: Four Centuries of Chinese Paintings from the Papp Collection, The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, June 22-October 7, 2007

Literature: 1. Cheng Qi, Xuanhui tang Shuhua lu (Paintings), Hong Kong: Xuanhui tang, 1972, pp. 185
2. Heritage of the Brush: The Roy and Marilyn Papp Collection of Chinese Painting, Phoenix Art Museum, 1989, cat. 24, pp. 76-77