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Yu Xing (1736- 1795), Fish Pond, ink and colour on paper, handscroll, 28.5 x 158.4 cm. Estimate: HK$10 – 15 M/ USD 1,280,000 – 1,920,000Courtesy Sotheby's.

Hong Kong - Sotheby’s Hong Kong Fine Classical Chinese Paintings Spring Sale on 1 April 2019 will present a tightly curated selection of Ming and Qing dynasty calligraphy and paintings. The sale is anchored by Qian Weicheng’s Landscape after the Four Great Yuan Masters, Yu Xing’s Fish Pond, Bada Shanren’s Geese by the Hibiscus, as well as an extraordinary calligraphy handscroll by Zhang Bi, Li Dongyang and other literati. Additional major highlights include calligraphy by Wen Zhengming, and landscape paintings by court painter Dong Bangda and influential orthodox artist Wang Hui.

Steven Zuo, Head of Fine Classical Chinese Paintings, Sotheby’s Asia, comments, “Our  sale this season is distinguished by a group of seminal works from the Ming and Qing dynasties, many of which were sourced from prominent private collections around the world. This sale marks the debut of two exceptional and rare works with impeccable provenance from the Qing imperial court painters Qian Weicheng and Yu Xing. Another major highlight is Bada Shanren’s Geese by the Hibiscus from the artist’s late period.”

Qian Weicheng (1720–1772), Landscape after the Four Great Yuan Masters

Measuring over 5 metres long, this rare and well-preserved landscape was created by the renowned Imperial court painter Qian Weicheng, a high-ranking official and favourite during Emperor Qianlong's reign. Widely documented and endorsed by famous scholars, the present work is further distinguished by its provenance, originally gifted to the artist’s younger brother Qian Weiqiao. Its appearance this spring will be the first time the work has ever been offered at auction.

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Qian Weicheng (1720–1772), Landscape after the Four Great Yuan Masters, ink on paper, handscroll, 33 x 523 cm. Estimate: HK$12 – 16 M/ USD 1,530,000 – 2,040,000. Courtesy Sotheby's.

Yu Xing (1736- 1795), Fish Pond

Fish Pond is an exceedingly rare work by Yu Xing, a court painter from the Qing dynasty. A popular subject amongst Chinese literati, this lively depiction of fish swimming joyfully resonates with the Daoist philosophy of happiness and illustrates the expression, “may there be abundance year after year.” The work was inscribed by Emperor Qianlong with a poem and stamped with his imperial seals, adding to its historical significance. Fish Pond was recorded in Sequel to The Precious Collection of the Stone Canal Pavilion (“Shiqu baoji xubian”), and was originally kept in the Forbidden City.

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Yu Xing (1736- 1795), Fish Pond, ink and colour on paper, handscroll, 28.5 x 158.4 cm. Estimate: HK$10 – 15 M/ USD 1,280,000 – 1,920,000Courtesy Sotheby's.

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Zhu Da (Bada Sharen) (1626 – 1705), Geese by the Hibiscus, ink and colour on paper, hanging scroll, 199 x 56cm. Estimate: HK$14 – 18 M/ USD 1,790,000 – 2,300,000Courtesy Sotheby's.

Measuring almost two metres high, Geese by the Hibiscus evokes a sense of play with its simple composition and expressive brushstroke – a classic example of the artist’s later works. Widely catalogued, the painting comes to the market with impeccable provenance, passing through the hands of a number of renowned government officials and scholars from the Qing dynasty. 

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Zhang Bi (1425-1487), Li Dongyang and et. al, Calligraphy, detail, ink on paper, handscroll 29 x 967.5 cm. Estimate: HK$1.2 – 1.8 M/ USD 153,000-230,000Courtesy Sotheby's.

This impeccably long scroll is comprised of poems from the renowned calligrapher Zhang Bi and other reputable literati from the Ming Dynasty. It served as a farewell document, as the artist departed from the capital city after receiving an official appointment in Nan'an, containing important historical information for researching Zhang Bi.

MORE HIGHLIGHTS

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Dong Bangda (1699-1769), Studio in Autumn Landscape, ink on silk, hanging scroll, 128 x 70 cm. Estimate: HK$ 3.6 – 4.2 M/ USD 459,000 – 535,000Courtesy Sotheby's.

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Wang Hui (1632-1717), Studio in Songshan after Lu Haoran, ink and colour on paper, hanging scroll, 82 x 42.5 cm. Estimate: HK$ 2.6 – 3.8 M/ USD 332,000 – 485,000Courtesy Sotheby's.

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Precious Ming and Qing Dynasty Calligraphy Collection. Xu You (17th Century), Calligraphy in Cursive Script, ink on silk, hanging scroll, 178.5 x 43 cm. Estimate: HK$180,000 – 260,000/ USD 23,000 – 33,200Courtesy Sotheby's.

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Property from the North America Collection. Lan Meng (Active 1639-1701), Winter Landscape after Wang Wei, ink and colour on silk, hanging scroll, 198.7 x 99 cm. Estimate: HK$400,000 – 600,000/ USD 51,000 – 76,500Courtesy Sotheby's.

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Wen Zhengming (1470-1559), Bai Juyi’s Poem in Running Script, ink on paper, handscroll, 25.2 x 233.6 cm. Estimate: HK$3 – 4 M/ USD 383,000 – 510,000Courtesy Sotheby's.