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Multiple copies of the same bottle by inside painted artists

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Peter Bentley 彭达理
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« on: April 15, 2011, 07:51:06 pm »

Hello  All

A  string  I started  on   commission painting   turned  into an important  discussion  about   multiple  copies  of the same   bottle  picture  by the same  artist  over a   period of  several  years.  Because  others    will evntually  join this  forul and look into the   discussion archives, I think it's   worthwhile to  continue  this  discussion under a new and  more  accurate   topic  title.

I wil  attempt to     copy   the  relevant   emails  from the  commissiom  painting  string  into this new string . Not  sure  if I can  cut n paste  all into  one  posting  so if I  fail  I will   just make a series  of  postings  in the next   hour.

OK  ...  here  goes

This started  with the  observation  by Bill  Patrick that  Richard  Baey   had a  Cao Hui Min  bottle  of  some    very well-painted  puppies  that looked  identical  to  Cao  Hui Min bottle    which  Bill  had.  The only significant  difference  was that  they  were  painted  several  years  apart .

Then came this  comment  from Pat :

"I guess repeated subjects remains an issue, hundred plus years later.  Just for fun, I tried to keep track once of how often a Ma Shou Xuan Bottle was repeated from sales of different collectors (one from the dream of the Red Chamber), have to find my hand and pics and scans, and gave up at over a dozen. I wonder if each original owner thought they had a unique copy!"

Now    I find  I cannot  navigate  back to the  Forum to    attach more  comments   so I will  post this one and then     another  with more  contributions

Cheers  Peter  @  HK
« Last Edit: July 19, 2011, 04:56:09 pm by Bottle Guy » Report Spam   Logged

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Peter Bentley 彭达理
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« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2011, 08:08:25 pm »

Hello  Again

After  Bill  commentef that  his  Cao Hui Mon  Puppies bottle  looked a lot like  Richard's , Richard    then posted   this  comment :

"It is quite common for the artist to repeat the same subject over and over again which may upset the collector as his piece may not longer be unique.

Based on the signature on your ( Bill's)  photo, it is painted in 1995 whereas mine is stated as 1989."

I   now attach   both  pics , and they  are obviously  similar

 ( I  wonder  if they  are  in fact  both  a copy  of a  Western oil   canvas painting  .  I usually find that   IPB  painters  are not very good  at painting  cats and  dogs  realistically from memory because  -as  with  portrait paintings -  even the  slightest   mistake  in  a  detailed  nuance  makes the  protrait   "wrong" for  someone   who  actually knows the  person in the  portrait , although  others who do not know the person  intimately , including  even the   artist, cannot see    what is   "wrong".   Unless  one has  kept   cats and  dogs as pets  one cannot   really  understand what their  faces  look like , because to the  owner  their pets'   faces are as  intimate as their   family members .  The keeping  of pets  was   very rare   in China  until  recently and  I am certian   that  there   were  no  pedigree Spaniel  pups  in Hengshui  10   years  ago ! That's  why I  guess  these  bottles  of  Cao  Hui Min were copied  from a   western  canvas artist's work in oils )

Cheers  Peter



* Cao Hui Min Puppies @ Bill Patrick ( 1995).jpg (215.51 KB, 2469x1904 - viewed 28 times.)

* Cao Hui Min Puppies @ Richard Baey (1989).JPG (250.26 KB, 540x720 - viewed 19 times.)
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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2011, 08:17:42 pm »

Hello  yet  again

After  Richard's comment, I  posted  the following  as a  very interesting case (especially for me and  Bill)

__________________

Hi Richard, Bill and All

Very true !             

I   first  came face to face  with this    about   2  years  ago.  There's a  beautiful  bottle  which I call " Red Sun"     painted  by  Jiang Hongliang =  Song Shi.  The  bottle  was  published in Wang Ziyong's    2- part  book on Ji  School  arstists and  I was always  impressed  by   the picture ( see   attachment).  Then  Jiang Hongliang  came to HK in  early 2009   as the  visiting artist of the month.  I  went to meet  him and see  his  works, and  there  was Red Sun in all its  glory, looking even more  beautiful  than  I thought . List price  USD 8,850 ! ( HK$69,000)   There was no possible way I could  afford   to buy it, even  with the    30%  discount   CAC  usually gives me . But  I decided  it  was  worth a  try if I could  get the price down  to   less than   HK$30 K   so  I asked the   CAC sales manager  to see what he  could  do  as a  special  one-time  case. ( You can see from this   that  I was   still  in the  me -vs- artist   negotiation  phase of  my collecting  experience)
Finally  , after a loooong    negotiation  Mr Jiang explained  because it was his  signature piece  he  could  not  go below  HK$33 K   so we  agreed  HK$32,888 ( USD 4,200)  and he   gave me  free of  charge a beautiful 100  goldfish  natural  crsytal bottle  that  was  priced  at  HK$18 K.  Thus I bought  Red  Sun  ( see  pic) .

Later  Bill told  me that he also  had a   "Red Sun"  by Jiang Hongliang bought  in 2002 ( see attachements) !   And of  course  he  had paid  only a small   fraction of  what  I  had paid. This  of course  upset  me  somewhat because  I  had assumed  the  version I had bought   was  THE  one and only version, as   shown in the  Wang Ziying book. But when  I looked  very closely  I could  see that  not only were  my and Bill's versions slightly  different in fine detail,  but that  also  my version was not  even  the same  as  in the  Wang Ziyong  book.   So  3  versions ...  at least ! 

I therefore  wrote to  Jiang Hongliang  and   his   reply  was  very interesting .( see attachment)

Interesting  story !   

_____________________

The  original   attachments  (  4  x pics  +  2  x    word.docs)   are  re-posted  below

Regardless of  which  version , it  certianly is a  splendid bottle  ( although  something  Mr  Jiang  once said to me   leads  me to believe it is in fact a copy   -  or at least  based  on -  a Japanes modern painting )

Cheers

Peter



* s Red Sun (2009) USD4,200.jpg (24.02 KB, 336x375 - viewed 20 times.)

* s Red Sun Hi-res.jpg (395.34 KB, 768x857 - viewed 19 times.)

* s Red Sun (2002).jpg (33.44 KB, 387x450 - viewed 16 times.)
* Email from Bill 4.7.2010.doc (24.5 KB - downloaded 12 times.)
* Email from Mr.Jiang_Eng.doc (28 KB - downloaded 10 times.)

* Picture published in Wang Ziyong Book (2008).jpg (42.94 KB, 768x1011 - viewed 17 times.)
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« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2011, 08:24:30 pm »

Hi Yet  again

( BTW  :  it seems  the  Forum  software  chopped  off the   beginning of the    pic  titles  in my last post  about  Red  Sun
 The    1st and   2nd  pics  were  my Red  Sun , and the   3rd was Bill's  Red Sun.  I   suspect the   lighter  colors  of Bill's    version were  caused  by  photography conditions)

After  my Red  Sun posting, Pat  posted this  comment :

"Well...high horse..hobby horse.. betting horse, whatever.  This is a practice that royally pisses me off (and if my wallet combined with my trust gets involved.. hm.. not a good idea).   I think these people/artists/skilled craftspeople should at least make an honest attempt to track their 'copies' or repeated subjects, like lithographs indicated copy x/of xxx AND be truthful and honest about it, AND state where to got their inspiration, idea, copy from (a common practice with the old-er masters).

It is NO coincidence that you see hundreds of books of pictures and paintings owned and used by these people (as evidenced by pics of just one of these 'artists'.  You see the same with regular 'painters' allover Asia, who are often very good, but not necessarily original.  A commisioned copy of a piece of art you like is one thing, but to think you are buying an original or unique item is another.  Often it starts as a copy and it keeps on being copied, we just never know about it until we find out, by accident or by fate.  Considering the prices these modern artists are starting to command, they owe us at least that.  Without that it is skill and craft, NOT art.  Sorry...   Pat"

Cheers  Peter  (  just one more posting to come...)


 
 
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« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2011, 08:48:49 pm »

Hi  again for the  last  time  this morning  in HK,

My   reply to  Pat  was   this:

"Sad  but  true.  But there's not  much  we can do  about  it. Just   live  with  it and   be aware  of  the  possibility   that  what we  think  is  an  original  unique  bottle   may  be   just  one  of a series  which the  painter has  painted  over his lifetime.  Some  signed , some  unsigned"

In fact   have  several   more  examples  of this   multiple  copy   phenomenon that are  very interesting, and  I will post  them  in the next  few days. But  my classic case is  certainly  Jiang  Hongliang's   Red Sun 

My theory  is that  there  are  three  kinds  of  multiple  copies :

a)  "practice" versions  of a  bottle  which   the   artist  sells  off unsigned    to  the   general   market  just to    earn  some  money  to  survive the  next month

b) "Improved"    official /  signed   versions, after  the  artist  has  scored a  hit  with  the   first   official  / signed  bottle  when  he finally showed  it at an exhibition and maybe   even won a   prize ( =  certificate  of  recognition)

I guess  (   just guess)  it's sometimes  more  satisfying to  repeat  an  earlier   work  and try to make  it  even better   than to  create a new work , given that a large  part of the effort  in  painting an IPB  is  the   skill  involved 

c)  A collector  asked the   artist to    paint  another  copy  of  a bottle  which  he ( the  collector)  saw  in a  book;   eg  both Bill and  I at different   times  asked   one particular  young   Hengshui  artist  to  paint  us   a  copy  of a beautiful  bottle  we  both saw  in    CIPMA  (  "Chinese  Inside Painting  of the  Modern  Age"  edited  by  Wang  Xisan ,  2005  * )   

In this  case the bottle  may   either  be a  perfect  copy,  or it may  be  a  copy  "in the  spirit" of the  orginal  with some  additional  flourishes at the  artist's  discretion .  In Bill's case I think   he   asked this artist to  paint  two  CIPMA-published   "front  face"  pictures  onto  a new  bottle,  one  on  side  A   and one on side   B of the  new   " copy" bottle .

And  of course  there's the case   that another  young artist   just  copies the  work of a  Master  and  sells  it  off  unsigned  to  earn  some  pocket money.  It   takes a very  discerning eye to  spot a   fake  copy, as  was the case  of  my Sun Honglin's    "Stormy Sea"  copy  - although  in that  case the  copy  was  at least signed.

Please  understand  that  I am still  a   rookie   collector and the  more  I  learn   the more  I realise   I  have to  learn, so  I could  be  100%  wrong  in what  I wrote  above.  Corrections   therefore  gratefully  accepted and  noted  !

At this  point  I  turn this  new string  over to the  Forum members  for  contributions

Cheers  Peter  @  HK   (  09.45 saturday  morning  over  here )

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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2011, 07:41:05 pm »

Peter,

Thanks. I agree with your suggested theories and explanations but there should still be a 'trail' as to how many times this was done, and when if they want themselves to be considered as real and bona fide artists instead of very good skilled craftsmen/women.  There is nothing worse than the letdown (regardless of the money involved, but also THAT ofcourse) associated withg realizing we have been 'duped', and in this case, really 'duped' in a true sense.

People who do have ready access to at least some of these artists like yourself and Bill have an opportunity to try and change their behavior and get them to understand this will properly document their work, and let people know who has 'what' from 'when'.
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« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2011, 07:49:07 pm »

Hi Pat

I recall  that  Bill once told  me  he  tried to  encourage  the  Modern  artists  he knew personally  from this  practice. I don't    remember his exact  words    but  in effect  it was   that  he  was  hitting  his head against a  brick  wall. The   practice  is  so  deeply  engrained that nothing Bill  ( nor I  , or  any  collector  )  says can change  it.  As you  have pointed  out,  this  goes   back  far into the  Middle  period.    Bill once  told me that   the reason  Ma Shaoxian portraits are  so much more  valuable than  his other  bottles  is that  each  portrait  really was unique.  Ian Hardy, who is an ardent collector   of and  expert  on  Zhou Leuan  told me   one of the  reasons  he so much  admires  ZLY  is that  he  never painted the  same picture   twice.

In due  course  I will post  some   very  interesting  stories  on this   matter , because it  does  have its  lighter  side

 Smiley

Cheers  Peter
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« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2011, 07:59:31 pm »

Hm... agree to all 'except' MSX creating unique bottles/subjects.  In CIPMA on page 31 top of page, there is one pic of which one of the "Dream of the Red Chamber0 bottles of which in my hard drive in Shanghai I have at least 12 other bottles in different shapes and sizes (all from Major auctions and 'huhum' authenticated by Moss, Hall, etc...but I will take their word for it).  If he did this with a subject like these, why would it have been any different with portraits? 
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« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2011, 11:13:13 pm »

Hi  Pat

Knowing  zero about  antiques  I cannot  comment.  I   was only repeating what   Bill   told me.  But I did   notice that at the  Bloch  auctions  1    and  2  the  MXS  portraits  went  for some  astronmic  prices,    at least  5  x  higher  ( well  over  USD100K )  than the  best   of    the  normal  " serial  painted "  MSX's  , which  sold  at   about  the   same prices  as  the best    ZLY's  ( about  USD25K)    You can  check  Bonhams  on-line  catalogues and see the  prices  of past auctions

Cheers Peter @ HK
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« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2011, 12:37:24 am »

Astronomical indeed.  A little bit intriguing actually, I dont consider him a very good portrait painter if you see what they produce today, but maybe he was the best of the few at that time.  In addition, I just have no comfort level about them being single copies.  Imagine shelling out 100K USD and then later finding another same portrait bottle in a different shape bottle.  Ouch ouch, ouch.  Or... some people just have too much dough.  Sometimes it must be nice  Grin Wink
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« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2011, 07:03:26 pm »

Hi  All

MULTIPLE   COPIES  OF SAME BOTTLE - EXAMPLE  1 :  GUO  ZONG GEN (  YI  FAN  一凡)

If  you have  CIPMA,  check out  pp  256/257   Guo Zonggen   =  Yi  Fan ( 一凡)*

     [ *Not to  be confused   with  Shi Xingzhou =  Yi Fan (艺凡)]

There  are  4 x  "signature"   bottles  on page  257,  two  of   which  I have  extracted and  posted below CIPMA (1) and  (2).

Now compare  these   with  bottle  P077  in my collection.  Clearly P077 (A)  =  CIPMA (1) and  P077 (B) = CIPMA (2)

I bought  P077  in 3.2009  from a  tourist bottle shop  in Guangzhou run by a  young guy who  used to  be an  artist  in Hengshui, until he decided   he  would never make the top  grade and so he   went into business. His shop sells tourist grade bottles,  but  once I got to  know   him he  looked  out   for  real  artist-grade   bottles  for me  whenever he went  back to Hengshui, and P077  was one of those  such bottles . I paid    RMB1,000  for  it  - about  USD 150  (  he  originally  wanted   twice that)

He assured  me  it  was a genuine  Guo Zonggen / Yi Fan , and that's how it is also signed. He had no reason to   lie to me,  and if  he was   really trying to pass  off   a high-grade  copy of a  CIPMA bottle  by another artist  he would  have   held  out for a   much higher  price.  My  bottle is very well painted   and is  worth   what I paid  for  it  just for the  artwork.

So  I conclude  that  Yi Fan  has  probably painted  several  versions  of  his  bottles  illustrated  in CIPMA over the past  5    years, of which  my P077  is probably  just  one  ( maybe it  was  not  such such a good  copy,  so  Yi Fan sold it off  more  cheaply).

I have  seen   several  bottles  by Yi  Fan  in   specialist shops, but  mostly they   did not impress  me  so I did not  buy them. I hazard  a   guess that he  paints   fairly  prolifically   and so   makes  up   in  quantity for  what he lacks  in quality

But if  you  think  that's  an interesting story   look at my   next   two   Guo  Zonggen  bottles  which I photographed   side by side  :  P083 & P084  !

Two  bottles,  both  with the  same   (A)  side  but  different  (B) sides.  Both   signed  by  Yi Fan, but  neither  particularly well painted.

Coincidentally  I  also bought  them in  3.2009  which  was  when I  made  my first  trip to Hengshui , and the price  was an incredible  RMB150   each  -  YES !  - that's only  USD 20 each  !  You would   have every   right to  say I had been conned,  and indeed  I would   agree  with you  if I had  not spotted  them  in the  little   shop/office  showroom  of  Hou Yanbin , a  senior and  semi-retired  Hengshui  artist  who   was introduced  to me as a trusted and good friend by Bill Patrick.  Mr Hou   vouched that   both bottles  were indeed  by  Guo  Zonggen   and I can believe  him absolutely .  As  to why the  price  was so   low I have no idea , unless  it  was  that   Guo Zonggen had  offloaded   them to  Mr Hou   a few  years ago as  low-class  practice  bottles,  and  Mr Hou had never  got round to re-valuing  them

One  day , when I go to  Hengshui  again, I will  take  all  3 bottles  and  get to meet  Guo Zonggen  personally to  ask  him if he  really did  paint all  3 bottles, and if so, how many other  copies  he painted

Cheers   Peter  @  HK
 




* CC Guo Zonggen @ CIPMA 256-257.jpg (38.81 KB, 1024x698 - viewed 7 times.)

* CC Guo Zonggen @CIPMA(1).jpg (240.57 KB, 1607x1863 - viewed 10 times.)

* CC Guo Zonggen @CIPMA(2).jpg (252.06 KB, 1652x1863 - viewed 8 times.)

* CC Guo Zonggen @ Peter P077 (A).JPG (265.06 KB, 469x1024 - viewed 7 times.)

* CC Guo Zonggen @ Peter P077 (B).jpg (287.23 KB, 537x1024 - viewed 5 times.)

* CC Guo Zonggen @ Peter P083 & P084 (A).jpg (370.5 KB, 768x860 - viewed 8 times.)

* CC Guo Zonggen @ Peter P083 & P084 (B).JPG (360.23 KB, 768x803 - viewed 10 times.)
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« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2011, 07:55:51 pm »

Hi  again All

MULTIPLE  COPIES  OF THE  SAME  BOTTLE  -  EXAMPLE   2 :  NIE  LEI  ( =  YI DING)

                       aka  "THE  CAT  WHO  CAME BACK HOME"

We  have   discussed   Nie Le  under the  subject of  very  fine fine   character bottles . It seems  Nie Lei  usually  uses the  pen name " Yi Ding"  , especially  when  painting these  character  bottles .   I have a  series  of  rather  unusual  and  quite beautiful   Chinese  landscape   bottles  that  he suddenly  started painting  about  3 years  ago, and of which  I bought  up most  of  what was  available   in  Ms Wang's  SH specialist  bottle   shop.

From time  to time  when  in    specialist  bottle   shops, if I see a particularly  well-painted bottle  that is  unsigned I  offer to  buy  it  as a   what I call  gift-quality , because  I  put these  on a special  shelf and sometimes   if I have  guests  I invite them  to  choose  one as   gift  from me.  I  now have a pretty  good idea  of  what the  shop paid for  this   kind of   higher - grade  but  unsigned  bottles  ( probably  in the range  RMB  300 - 400)   so   regardless of the  marked   price for the  tourists, which can be as  high  as RMB2,000 , I just  offer a  flat  RMB600-700, ( USD80-100)  take it or  leave  it.  In this  way I have  picked  up  a  few  very  nice  unsigned  bottles  in  the  past few   years,  several  of which  I  am  now  quite  loathe to  part with  because the  painting  skill is  really   quite  extraordinary.

One such bottle  was a  very beautiful   black  and white  persian cat   theme  on one  side which I saw  in a  Guangzhou   tourist   bottle  shop  (  a  different  shop  from  the  one  where  I bought the   Yi Fan bottle) ;   and  owning   two beautiful    black and white persian  cats  ( pic 1) I  was  obviously  attracted  to  it . The   bottle  was  unsigned, but it was    extraordinarily   well-painted, and I  now think  it must have  been copied  from a  Westen  painting ( same as  Cao  Huimin's  puppies) because    you never  see a  traditional   Chinese   cat  picture  like that.  ( see  pics  2 & 3)

A few  months  after  I bought   that bottle  in early 2009  Rosanne  Chan,  whose   company in HK  publishes  the   ICSBS  journal, came to  my home . She  was interested  to see   some  good Chinese landscape theme  bottles, because  this  is  usually not a prime   focus  area  area  for  those   few  ICSBS members   who   do collect  modern bottles .  When   Rosanne was  about to leave  I offered  to give her  one  my  gift-quality  bottles,  thinking  she would   choose  a  landscape theme bottle,   but then  my  heart sank   when   she said  she    would like   my  beautiful cat bottle  because  her son's cat  had  just  run away so it  would  console  him  somewhat.  I could  not   tell her that  that  bottle  was  not really intended as a gift, but anyway  I thought  it  would be  doing  much  more   good  in her home than mine ,so  of course  I gave it  to  her  gladly   - well....  with  a  few twinges  of   regret  :  bye  bye  beautiful  pussies ... Cry

Later  that  year  I was  at  Ms Wang's  shop  in SH  looking for a  good  bottle  as  a  present to  give  my secretary for   her new  home   and   by luck Ms  Wang  had a really beautiful and  skillfully  painted  100  x  goldfish bottle in a  natural hair crystal.  Needless  to say, the bottle  was not  cheap  ( I recall it was  marked  at about   USD2,000)   but  finally Ms Wang  agreed  to  come  down  to about  USD1,000 , which I  estimated   was the   fair  value.  I was just  about to  pay  when  I  saw   the exact  same  cat bottle    again  which had been  hidden  at the  back of the  shelf  behind the goldfish bottle, only   this time  it was signed   by Nie Lei  !    Of course  I  bought it  and Ms Wang  was kind enough only  to  charged  me an extra  RMB1,000 = USD  150 for   it .   My cat  had  come   back  home !

Only  one side   of the  bottle  I gave  Rosanne and   my new Nei Lei  bottle  were   the same  : the  picture  of the   cat   chasing a   mouse, but that  was the side  I loved  the most .

A  year  later  when I met Nie  Lei  in Hengshui  I showed  him the photo  of the  signed  bottle  I bought in SH  and he confirmed  he  had painted  it. next time  I go to  Hengshui  I must remember to ask him  the  story  behind  the  unsigned  bottle, and how it  got to  Guangzhou

If  you  examine both versions  of the    common face  of  both  bottles,  you  will see  minor  differences ( the same  applies to the   Yi Fan / CIPMA  bottle  copy  I mentioned  in my previous  post ) as if the  artist  had  done a  sort of  variation on a  theme  rather than   a  100%  identical  copy. 

So........ multiple copies of the  same  bottle   do sometimes  have a happy ending !

                                                   Cheesy   Cheesy    Cheesy 

Cheers  Peter


   


* My two Persian cats.JPG (57.1 KB, 640x480 - viewed 3 times.)

* CC Nei Lei @ Peter Cat IPB Unsigned (A1).JPG (307.85 KB, 768x1024 - viewed 6 times.)

* CC Nei Lei @ Peter Cat IPB Unsigned (B1).JPG (319.2 KB, 768x1024 - viewed 4 times.)

* CC Nei Lei @ Peter P020 (A).JPG (333.54 KB, 768x828 - viewed 9 times.)

* CC Nei Lei @ Peter P020 (B).jpg (322.09 KB, 768x791 - viewed 7 times.)
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