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Teasing the Crane in the Tang Collection?

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Author Topic: Teasing the Crane in the Tang Collection?  (Read 775 times)
Joey
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« Reply #40 on: June 16, 2017, 05:38:34 am »

Dear Steven,

     WOW! I can not believe the education I just got reading and re-reading this post of yours.
1. I was sure that there could 'copies', but you've explained that what I considered a copy is 'a variation on a theme', but that there won't be EXACT copies.

And on this issue, I owe an apology to Pat.

   I had stated categorically that there was an exact copy of a bottle in my collection which I purchased from White Wings, in a certain museum in Ireland. I was disabused of that notion by an expert, who'd seen my bottle in Israel, and is familiar with the actual bottle I'd thought was a copy.

   First off, it is NOT in that collection. I'd called to see if I could get photos, and spoken to the expert. It is in a private collection I saw displayed in his home in NYC in 2013.
And again, a variation on a theme, NOT an exact copy.

2. To my untutored eye, parts of the calligraphy looked 'right'. But I was ignoring my own rule: DON'T look for the details that look 'right' to convince yourself that it's 'right'; look for those details that are wrong. If you find NOTHING wrong, then it is 'right'.

3. I was not looking carefully enough at the details. And the details are all important.

Thank you, Steven.
And my apologies, Pat.

Steven, any suggestions as to the real artist, since I accept it is not Ding Erzhong?
Was I at least correct that it was painted by a contemporary of Ding, or was I wrong in that as well?  Wink Roll Eyes

Shabbat Shalom,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

Steven
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« Reply #41 on: June 16, 2017, 09:39:57 am »

Dear Joey,

Thank you for agreeing with me!

I really don't know who is the real artist of the bottle , and we might not be able to find out unless the artist himself or herself claim that. Since when the artist try to copy someone else, he or she will hide his or her own painting style, so we can't tell it from the painting. Plus there are hundreds of artist who can do such copies nowdays. Having said that, I do see some artist copy old painting with his own style, who is Suo Zhenhai,  as we know that he has very distinguished style which can be relatively easy to be told. If you look the suo's catalog, there are a quite few of old copies with his style, I have to say I appreciate this kind of copies a little bit more. It would be gold if the script can be written " follow someone's brushes"

Yes, I agree with you that the artist is contemporary one, old painter won't do exact copy, Ye family did some good Zhou leyuan copies, but even tho, they are not copy stroke by stroke. no mention exact inscripts.

Best,

Steven
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« Reply #42 on: June 16, 2017, 11:28:44 am »

Dear Steven,

Thank you for taking the time to do the analysis.

This always was a case of "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

Your strongest argument is that DEZ would not paint the exact same scenes with the exact same calligraphy. That makes the most sense to me.

However, looking at the calligraphy - it's so close that it doesn't make as compelling an argument to me. I know if I write the same sentence twice that it never looks exactly the same. To me, and I preface this with I'm not a handwriting analyst, there are more things alike in the calligraphy than different. But you have the advantage that you know the language, so I am looking at symbols whereas you are looking at letters. So I will concede on this point as well, but think that it would benefit from further study.

On the tree leaves, the main differences appear to be the lack of outlines on the leaf edges and the shape of the leaves. My bottle's leaves have an ovate shape - whereas on the Bonhams bottle they are lobed.
On the lily-pads, the outlines are also missing, and on my bottle (since the cork was in it) I think that some smudging has happened there.  
Minor differences like these continue to the landscape, but none of them are especially compelling arguments to me - again these are areas where it appears there are more things alike than different - which shows a great deal of skill on the part of the artist.

There is still the question of when it was painted.

Looking at the paint under magnification it shows degradation and fading that I only see in my bottles painted by middle period artists, and trust me I have plenty of fakes to compare it to. I don't know how it is possible to age a painting like this - where the paint has degraded and faded, so it's either old or there are new faking techniques available that I don't know about.  Please elaborate if you know.


The absolute best thing would be for it to be examined in person.





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« Reply #43 on: June 16, 2017, 04:46:02 pm »

Dear Cathy,

Thanks for your explanation, and you made your points.

However the exact same copy is not my strongest argument, even without it I can easily tell a quite lot of factors that is contemporary copy.

Are you agree with it it not genuine Ding Erzhong, If you agree, then we can talk about the date which was faked.

First of all, Have you seen any old Ding Erzhong copies before?  I don't know if Joey have seen any old copies of Ding Erzhong bottles, at least I have not seen one, All is because, Ding is not commercial artist, you can tell from the bottles he choose are all glass bottles, since they are not painted not for selling good price. that is why his bottles were not highly valued at middle period as Zhou leyuan.  why people copy fakes, to pursuit the profit, if there is no profit, then no fakes. And that was why there are tons of Zhou Leyuan fakes. But not so many fakes for other old masters.

Second, Have you seen any exact same old copies which have exact same scene and same scripts. I have not seen any. The chinese traditional painting, so call freehand painting which is not like the western painting which normally will have some reference to copy, the artist image some scene using their imagination to start to paint, there is no way the old masters would copy something stroke by stroke, even the position of the script are exactly same. Only modern artist will do that to fool people to pursuit profit.

I would agree with you that some of painting on the bottle were painted with old tools, and its not totally modern skills are used as other fakes you have seen, But those are not a sign for determining  its not a modern fake, The fakers were using the old tools, painted old bottles, those are all the fact I have known  . The fakes are different during different period, there were some fakes during the 70s -80s in HongKong, 90s in Beijing, 2000 after in Henan, 90s-now Henshui. There are all with different styles and different skill level. from the appearance of the bottle, I would vote it being early fakes between 80s in Hongkong, possibly same period as the Tang collection which you shared at first Place. That is my vote, I certainly is not eligible or confident to tell exactly when it was faked. 

I would not argument with the painting much since there are still a  lot to be learned by you to be able to master chinese art and calligraphy, you could look more traditional painting, by the time,we can talk about which kind of techniques were used in Ding's bottle on painting the leaves, and why the calligraphy looks close, but not there for a Ding's calligraphy etc.


Best,

Steven


 

 
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« Reply #44 on: June 16, 2017, 05:52:58 pm »

Hi Steven,

Yes, sorry if I didn't make myself clear - I do agree with you on all points except maybe when it was created.

As a matter of fact, I have one of those fake Zhou Leyuan bottles. Maven auctions seems to sell a lot of them, so beware!

And yes, I have a lot more to learn, but I do think (from comparing it to my fakes and my genuine bottles) that the bottle and painting are pretty old.

The things that strike me are:
1. The colors are an exact match, and as an artist I know how difficult it is to get colors right. The most striking thing to me on the fakes (besides the glass being wrong) is that the colors are wrong. This artist is using the exact same palette. He matched the teal of the mountains, and the orange-red of the boys jacket, the yellow ochre of the leaves in the landscape, the flesh color of the wall. Every color is spot on - although some have faded.
2. The paint has degradation - like on my Ye bottles that you can see under magnification.

So those two things make me think that the painting is old. Could it age that much in 30 or 40 years? Maybe it could if left in the sunlight. I don't know. 
But how did the artist match the palette? Are the recipes for his colors published or is the paint somehow still available? Or is there a possibility that DEZ had an apprentice that practiced by copying his bottles?
Those are my biggest questions I guess.

It is good news to know there are not many DEZ copies out there! 
And thanks for lending your expertise and teaching me about this!

Wink

 
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« Reply #45 on: June 16, 2017, 07:34:33 pm »

Cathy,
 
    I must admit that Steven's arguments have me convinced it is a modern fake.

   Re. the original tints - Ding Erzhong did not, so far as I know, grind his own colours. So he would have bought them from purveyors of artist's materials, of which there were a number on Liulichang St. in Beijing, according to YF Yang (This is also the location of the private kilns and artisans doing the enamelling on glass, in the late 19th &  early 20th C., again according to YF).

  Since the Ye Family (Apricot Grove Studio) continued working till 1950, and then taught students from 1953, it is totally plausible that the same tints are still available.

  They are very probably more costly than the modern made colours, but if someone were to try to fake a bottle which, if successful, could fetch US$10K - 50K; he or she would definitely spend the extra funds to make it look the part. As they say, you have to spend money to make money. There was a program on British TV during the 1980s/1990s, about a British antique dealer and lovable rogue with a heart of gold, Lovejoy.

   There were all sorts of techniques for aging and faking. I am sure some is made up, but we know there are successful forgers out there.
In Chinese Art, look at Zhang Daqian, who forged superb fake Northern and Southern Song paintings and Ming, as well. He left a book to document the fakes, so he would not adversely affect Chinese Art History after his death; but how many are so 'virtuous'?  Roll Eyes Grin

   I must say I'm 0 for 2 with this bottle - First, I thought it could well be Ding's work; and I was wrong. Second, I was positive it was at least same period as Ding; again, wrong.
Sorry.
 

  And yes, the sun can age it, and putting 6-10 or more corks and shaking the bottle for hours, might also give realistic wear...
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #46 on: June 17, 2017, 04:23:27 am »

I think Cathy's bottle itself looks old.

The grinding marks where it has been shaped look consistent with loose grinding material being used against a grinding wheel.

Obviously old bottle doesn't mean old painting in all cases.

Regards, Adrian.
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« Reply #47 on: June 17, 2017, 05:15:07 am »

Dear Adrian,

     I agree with you that the bottle DOES look old, and may well be.
Again, as with the old style colours, I suggest that it would be worth the gamble to use a, say US$200 old bottle, to produce a fake which might sell for thousands of US$, if it succeeded.

   What bothers me is, whoever did paint this, is immensely talented, as I'm sure all will agree. A pity he or she could not make superbly painted modern pieces, written, as Steven 'suggested' (he wished), with the inscription "Following the brush spirit of Master Ding Erzhong", and with the artist's correct name, rather than "Ding Erzhong painted".

Best,
Shabbat Shalom.
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« Reply #48 on: June 17, 2017, 08:43:19 am »

Dear Adrian, the glass is old - on that one point I'm certain.

Dear Joey, that is interesting about DEZ's palette. Can you refer me to a book to find out more about that?

and Dear Steven, I am going to step back from this topic for a while and put the bottle safely away until I gain more knowledge to be able to discern what it is.

The lot that this bottle came with also included a lovely Xue Chengcai in a blue faceted glass that I may share on another thread later.   

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« Reply #49 on: June 17, 2017, 10:21:56 am »

Dear Cathy,

Its possibly smart to put the bottle away a little, I believe that you will know more when you take it out next time.

Let me explain a little bit more on the bottle itself and the colors.

As we know that  painting new on the old bottles is very common practice,  old masters painted older bottles is common as well,  Lot of inside painted bottle dated 18th, which doesnot mean the bottle was painted in 18th,  which means the bottle itself is older.  Even after 1950, Most of students of  Ye bengqi painted a quite lot 19th bottles which include agate bottle, quartz and inside painted bottle( the old painting was washed and cleaned).

Talking about the colors, I am sharing one of Xue chencai bottle here, which is from the Joey's collection. can you tell me when do you think the bottle was painted? modern or old?

Best,

Steven


* 2015-05-17_084721.jpg (947.5 KB, 1406x1217 - viewed 24 times.)
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« Reply #50 on: June 17, 2017, 11:58:27 am »

Haha - I like quizzes!

I know there is debate about when he painted because he rarely dated his bottles, but it is my belief he was the son of Xue Shaofu and the bottle was painted anywhere between 1910 - 1940

I can also postulate it would be difficult to find a XCC in clear glass!

Also I can guess that that's a picture of a policeman holding a traffic signal, which I read first started in the 1860s (predating the car) to prevent traffic jams with horse drawn carriages.


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« Reply #51 on: June 17, 2017, 05:53:39 pm »

Thanks Cathy for joining the Quizzes!


Would you be surprise if I say that bottle is painted late 60s to early 70s? I actually owe Pat an  apology when I get into the topic. As many of you might have seen the argument between Pat and me regarding the date of Xue chencai bottle, I insisted that is should be 10s-40s, but we I saw this bottle, I have to say Pat was right about it.

The two motifs of the bottle are from 1965 after, then there is no way Xue Chencai can paint it earlier.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Legend_of_the_Red_Lantern

The Legend of Red lantern is an opera which was popular during the culture revolution, Wang Xisan and Liu Shouben all painted it during early 70s. So I assume that Xue's bottle is dated same as Wang xisan and Liu Shouben.  Having said all those, old painting techniques and colors are still available during 70s or 80s.  So its would not be  surprise if a faker can use it to copy the old bottles.

As we know there is a couple of  fakers during 70s ,80s in Hongkong who faked a bunch of quite good bottles. As I was told recently, one inside painted artist Shi Chuan in Shandou , Guangdong province was involved in those fakes.  Those are what I heard of, but there might be more I have never heard of.   So I have to say The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.

Best,

Steven

 
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« Reply #52 on: June 17, 2017, 06:59:35 pm »

Dear Steven,

Ah! So Joey holds the key bottle to determining the date of the Xue Chengcai bottles!

I am surprised they are not from earlier.

I now have three Xue Chengcai bottles - I think I shared two here before. One is the prettiest color of lime green with a children playing theme, the other yellow with school children doing their studies, and now a blue one with a scholar and boy theme.

It has always struck me that his work is heavily influenced by the Ye Zhongsan family, and yet I also see the influence of Xue Shaofu as well (particularly in how he paints the willow tree and the way he forms his calligraphy)

He definitely had access to the Ye Zhongsan palette. The reds and greens seem to be a perfect match - although it is hard to be certain when looking at it in colored glass.




 
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« Reply #53 on: June 17, 2017, 07:06:19 pm »

Steven,

    When I bought that bottle with figures from the Red Lantern Girl, which I KNOW is a Cultural Revolution production, the late Robert Kleiner convinced me that it was mid-1940s Chi-Com propaganda , because he claimed Xue Chengcai died in 1948!

    Having no reason to doubt him, I believe I told you it was ca. 1945-1948.
So now, I can put it in my box of 10 Cultural Revolution subjects. There is one historical (not Agit-Prop, as this one is) subject there at the moment, so I will switch them.
Thank you again,
Joey

   
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« Reply #54 on: June 17, 2017, 11:14:41 pm »

Thanks Steven for the teaching and sharing..... wonderful lesson!!!

Certainly you also let me revised Xue ChengCai and the cultural revolution agin last night.... I always thouight that Xue ChengCai was from the 40s or 50s... and the red lantern was in the 60s, 70s.... my brain got disconnected at that point... hahahahah  Huh

Again... thanks for the teaching...

Pin



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« Reply #55 on: June 18, 2017, 03:44:18 am »

Hi Steven

That argument we had was so long ago I almost forgot. And now it seems I have to reclassify some of my bottle into modern... water under the bridge haha ..No apologies needed. Are we still sure that Xue Chengcai is Xue Shao Fu's son? I was told the father stopped painting in 1938 or died in 1938?

Incidentally, I own about 30 or so Xue Shaofu bottles and i don't believe there is one which is dated.
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« Reply #56 on: June 18, 2017, 11:32:07 am »

Thanks Joey!! Just had it fixed. Smiley
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« Reply #57 on: June 18, 2017, 01:40:23 pm »

Dear Steven,

        I saw, so I deleted my correction.
I understood what you meant but worried others might not.
Best,
Joey
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« Reply #58 on: June 18, 2017, 08:34:38 pm »

Steven et al,

Repeating my earlier question.  Is there any new reason or clue to doubt that Xue Shaofu and Xue Chengcai are father and son, given this quite extensive spread in time between the two?   This is of course assuming that 1938 (last date of Xue Shaofu) and the bottle posted by Steven from Xue Chengcai, from mid to late 60s, i.e. a 30 year spread.

By the way, after checking my collection, I DO have dated bottles by Xue Shaofu, the earliest dated one is 1905, and the latest dated one is 1928.

To further confuse matters look at the thread below, which has a 1972 (1912?) bottle from Xue Chengcai, and a 1922 in my collection (1982?, doubt it..):

http://snuffbottle.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,813.20.html

Steven,

Just to be the devil's advocate, on the bottle you posted, the lantern can indeed be a train station lantern, and the clothes they are wearing are too colorful to be from the cultural revolution where they were either dressed all-green with red patches/armbands, or in any case generally quite drab.  This could be clothing from the early republic era.. Just to fuel the discussion  .. 5 years hence.  LOL.   SMILE

It makes our argument from years ago make sense.  They actually may have painted simultaneously, as in a family studio.



* Early Republic clothes.jpg (36.99 KB, 439x410 - viewed 4 times.)

* Train Lantern.jpg (9.13 KB, 300x300 - viewed 2 times.)

* Train Lantern 2.jpg (54.94 KB, 518x600 - viewed 1 times.)

* 2-chinese-shirts-outer-garment-cultural-revolution.jpg (37.2 KB, 632x393 - viewed 3 times.)

* red guard china blog.jpg (72.26 KB, 325x420 - viewed 2 times.)
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« Reply #59 on: June 18, 2017, 11:17:15 pm »

Dear Pat,

I think the fact that Xue cao fu is Xue chencai's father  has been accepted by most of the collectors, and I remember that I read the article about that, if the Xue shaofu is still painting in 60s-70s, then it can't be wrong with his family info provided.

the motif can't be random a train station lantern, since the the three characters are the main characters  model operas which is the The Legend of the Red Lantern  revolutionary opera, which is not exist before 1966. Plus the motif of the other side"Heroic Little Sisters" is also a typical revolutionary scene which is from a real story happened in 1964, so we have to accept that Xue shaofu was still painting at least during late 60s. but its still reasonable. Ye the older start his painting at 1892, his youngest son is still painting until early 70s, which expand about 80 yrs.

We can go through some dated Xue chaofu bottle, and figure out the actually date.

Best,

Steven

 


* 2252redlantern0928.jpg (122 KB, 400x300 - viewed 2 times.)

* Red Light Story (1).jpg (51.55 KB, 314x420 - viewed 3 times.)

* s4556076.jpg (23.37 KB, 306x435 - viewed 1 times.)
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