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Charll shared this beautiful Xianfeng (1851-1861) dated bottle depicting NeZha combating the Dragon King amongst a rolling sea of blue and eight mythical sea creatures.


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Familiar Inspirations / Flattery Through Imitation

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George
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« on: May 11, 2011, 07:38:57 pm »

Received a January/February 1982 Arts of Asian magazine a couple days ago.. One of the articles titled "Familiar Inspirations".

Thinking about Peter's desire to start discussions "on the whole question of IPB "copy" paintings vs original creations", I took a few pics to share from the article. The article starts off saying, FLATTERY THROUGH IMITATION is a time-honoured tradition in the field of Chinese art.

We can add "Flattery through imitaion" or even, "familiar inspirations" to the list of alternatives to "copy" Peter.. Smiley

Not posting to start or take away from your upcoming topic you plan on sharing Peter.. So please feel free to start your own topic separate from this one !

Chung K'uei, exorciser of demons, painted by Chou P'ei-ch'un. Bottle painting by Yeh Chung-san


A mirror picture shows a variation of the "Sitting Beauty" motif. I do not know the artist for the bottle painting.


The Lady Sun in an illustration from a early edition of the Three Kingdoms. Bottle painted by Meng T'zu-shou.


Liu P'ei's party is greeted at the door of Chuko Liang's hut. The rider in the background indicates this is the second unseccessful attempt to find Chuko Liang at home. Bottle painted by Ye Chung-san


Fierce warriors in one of the great battles that mark the Romance Of The Three Kingdoms. Here I get to share one of my two warrior bottles painted by Yung Shou-t"ien  Smiley


"The Lady Dowager Sends for her Motherless Grandaughter". Bottle painted by Yeh Chung-san


"On Wasp Waist Bridge, Hsiao-hung Hints at her Feelings". Bottle painted by Yeh Chung-san


"A Pair of Unicorns Suggest a Match". I don not know the artist for the bottle


One of the cousins dressed for the snow. I do not know the artist for this bottle either.


"Sweet Hsiang-yun Sleeps Tipsily Among the Peonies".


"Tai-yu Starts Another Poetry Club: Peach Blossom Society". The cousins gather in the Bamboo Lodge. Bottle painted by Yeh Chung-san


Detail of the meeting in the Bamboo Lodge. Bottle painted by Pi Jung-chiu.


Pao-yu praises his orphaned cousin to their grandmother. Painted by Yeh Chung-san


Illustration from one of the twenty four tales of filial piety showing W'ang Hsiang thawing the ice with his body. Bottle painted by Ma Shao-hsuan.


Illustration depicting the story of Wang Chiu-lang. Bottle painted by Yeh Hsiao-feng


 
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2011, 09:19:30 pm »

Cool!  Thanks for sharing George.  Knowing this as a fact, and for this exact reason I am on a collecting binge of local auction catalogs of Chinese paintings and calligraphy, both antique, vintage, as well as modern and contemporary.  One (big) drawback though, because of the increasing wealth in China, the catalogs are collectors items in their own right and are tough to find as a result and not exactly cheap... Because of the rich and colour detail, these are exquisite books, often with hundreds of high gloss pages.
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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2011, 12:33:36 am »

Hi  George

That's   great  posting . Thanks.  I had  assumed  that  some  - probably  many -  of  modern  IPBs  are  based  on classical  paintings,  but  I  have  never  seen a  side-by-side  comparison  before.

Seems  I need to  subscribe to  Arts  of  Asia !  I  have been  meaning to   subscribe  for  some  time  and  try  to  publish an article  or  two  on modern  IPBs   in AoA as a  test  run   for a  more  mature    article  in a  wider medium,  eg  the  ICSBS  Journal in   the   fulness  of time  when  I am more  confident of my  judgement.

However  I think there's a  distinct  difference  between   "inspiration / imitation"  and   "copy".

Actually    several of the  "great"   bottle  series  have been  copies.  There's a  Wang Xisan  series  of   Chinese  Emporers  that were  obviously  copied  from   original   classical  paintings ( not  sure  if the paintings  were all by  the same  artist  - I suspect so because the  style seems  very  similar). Also  I have seen  at  least  2 , if  not  3, sets  of  HK  Governors  series, that  were  all  obviously  copied  from the  same  black and  white  drawings  by one  artist 

Some  bottles  are  pure  copies  : in fact  they  were commissioned as copies.  Bill  has a  lot  of   such bottles  on his  amazing website and  he  even  attributes the  original   oil painting and artist.  If  I  am not mistaken, the  ballerina IPB  you  have  used  as the   signature  pic  for Bill's  website is one  such  copy.  And they  are   truly  beautiful  works .

 I  have  commissioned a  series  of  bottles  from a leading   senior  artist  in Hengshui  which  are   direct  copies  of a  modern    Chinese  water -colour  abstract  landscape  artist  whom I  admire  (  Zhang  Yumao   张 玉  茂  )  and  the   results  are  spectacular ( !  )  .

This  is  one  whole  genre  of  modern  IPBs, and I would   dare to  say that  they   can result in    some  of THE  most  beautiful  bottles,   simply  because they  combine the  best  of  canvas  creativity   with  IPB  skill

THINK !   There  are  hundreds  of thousands   ( millions  !)  of    canvas  artists  worldwide , among  whom   there  are   many  hundreds - maybe  thousands  -  of   acclaimed  masters .  Call this  "free"  artistry , because   painting  on canvas  is  technically  not  so  hard.  I  even  learned  this   skill   in junior  high  at  basic  level *.   But  in all of  China  there   are   are  only  at most a  couple  of  hundred  of  really  skilled   IPB  artists, so the  chance  of  one  of them   ALSO being  a  really  talented    world-class " free"   artists  in his/ her  own  right   is   very  low, and  statistically one  would  expect  only   a    small  handful  of   such   true  free  IPB  artists  to   emerge  in  any  one generation.

IMHO  this  is  what  has  happened  in the  past  20 +  years  in IPB.  A    very  small  handful  of such  true  " free"  artists   did emerge . I  am  still  learning,  but  I  personally think that   Wang Guanyu  was the   first  such  truly  "free"  artist . Some  of  his  works  were  obviously   truly   inspired . Maybe  his  technical  skills  were  not so  refined  as    those  of  other   current  masters  in the  1990's,  but  MAN  !    did  he  create  some  amazing  bottles  !  My greatest  regret  is that  I did not   start collecting  20  years   earlier and  buy  some  of  his  best  works at that  time.   It  seems  all of  Wang  Guanyu's  greatest  creations are  now    firmly  in  the  collections  of  Singapore  collectors, but  at least  we can enjoy their  pictures, because the  Singapore collectors  have  gone to  great  lengths to  pubilicise their  collections   very  professionally  ( ask  Richard  for   the books  if  you  do not have  them) 

But  all is  not  lost  : there  are  also a   few  such  truly "free"   artists in the   2000's . It's  no secret  on this  Forum  that  I personally  regard  Fu Guoshun  as  THE  current  No 1   true  master, combining   amazing   technical  skill, with original  new  painting and  coloring  techniques, and   totally  original  " free"  creation  style ( and not  just  one  style, but  several).   But  there  are  others  , eg  Sun Honglin , and  -  I  am  willing to  bet  - Hu Xiaoran , each of  which    artists  is a  story  in itself  . E.g   Sun Honglin's   early  work  was  - in my    VERY  HUMBLE opinion -  very   drab and  boring,  but  suddenly  about   3  years  ago he   seemed to bloom  into  life.   Meanwhile   Hu Xiaoran  has   progressively  been  developing  his  style  over the past  5  years  : I have  one his  early  landscape bottles  and it cannot compare   with what he  is painting  now. 

But  I must  say, in all honesty, that  if  someone  with  a  good  eye  for   art  and   who knows nothing  about  IPB  artists , nor does  he know  what   is   an original  "free"  creation or  what is actually a    copy  : if  such a  person  was presented  with  a  series  of  bottles, some   copies  and some  original  "free"   creations,   and  asked to  rank them  in order  of pure beauty,   many  of the   copy  paintings  would  come out  top  , just  because the  original  "free"  artwork  is so good .

Just  some  thoughts........

Cheers  Peter

* PS :  I am  a lousy  painter. Never  painted  anything  decent  in my  life.  Never  could, never  will  be able to  do so.
  But  I did, as  a kid.  make  some  amazing  color  copies  of  wild  animals   from a   reference  book  using  colored  pencils.
  If  you  saw those  copies  today   and  were  told   they  were   drawn  by a   10  year-old  kid , you  would   say  I was
  a  very talented  artist  at  that  time.  But  I was  just  copying......



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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2012, 01:46:58 am »

When these bottles were acquired I had it in the back of my mind that there was something familiar about them.   Charll



One Hundred Horses, datable to 1728
Giuseppe Castiglione (Lang Shining) (Italian, 16881766)
Handscroll; ink on paper


Artist: Zhi Gang (Spring 1993)

Artist: Unsigned (Autumn 1998)

"One Hundred Horses" was drawn by Lang Shining in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Lang was a missionary from Italy with birth name Giuseppe Castiglione. Working as a court painter in China for over 50 years, his talent in painting was regarded highly by Chinese emperors Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong. He helped to create a hybrid style that combined the Western realism with traditional Chinese composition and brushwork.

Lang was skilled at painting horses, and "One Hundred Horses" is one of his representative works. This paper painting, 813 cm long and 102 cm wide, captures 100 horses in various postures. They are kneeling, standing, eating and running on the grassland staying alone and among groups. The artwork is now preserved in the National Palace Museum in Taipei.
   
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2012, 10:54:24 am »

Charll...  That is amazing !!

What a great catch !

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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2012, 11:50:45 am »

Charll, The horses bottles are wonderful; who is/are the artist/s?
Where do I get an old copy of the illustration of the story from "24 Stories of Filial Piety"? I have the same subject by Ma Shaoxuan, and it looks like he didn't change anything between the two; mine is dated 1894, Winter, and is in glass. The illustrated example seems to be in quartz. [ I use quartz instead of rock crystal; lead crystal instead of imitation rock crystal; and glass. Thus, no misunderstanding over material.]
Joey
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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2012, 02:57:07 pm »

Peter,

You mentioned the Chinese emperor bottles  by Wang Xiansan.  Two are direct copies from the famous "across" scroll by the Tang artist "阎立本" (Yan Liben).  There were some altering of colors of the garment but essentially the same image.

The others are also copied from the scrolls originally stored in the palace.  Such as the one of the famous Tang emperor.

(I had tried to include the pictures but the upload folder is full.  Admin: HELP!)

Charll,

Actually the same scenes from Lang Shining's scroll were also copied by Wang Guanyu.  See J H Leung's New Look of Chinese Inside Painted Snuff Bottles page 41-42.


When I first looked at the MIP bottles, I was so stunned and a little disgusted that there were so many copies from old/new paintings.  This was from the perspective of a student of Chinese painting.  It was later on that I learned to appreciate the technical merit of the craft.
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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2012, 03:52:35 pm »



(I had tried to include the pictures but the upload folder is full.  Admin: HELP!)


Give me about two minutes and will be back to normal..  Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2012, 04:14:55 pm »

Here are the pictures.

I am collecting more examples.  This subject really is interesting.


* king1.JPG (9.85 KB, 228x270 - viewed 43 times.)

* king1_O.jpg (106.46 KB, 939x1280 - viewed 40 times.)

* king2.JPG (9.69 KB, 225x262 - viewed 44 times.)

* king2_O.jpg (125.41 KB, 867x1279 - viewed 41 times.)

* king3.JPG (19.64 KB, 223x258 - viewed 40 times.)

* King3_O.JPG (67.81 KB, 418x867 - viewed 39 times.)
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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2012, 06:47:15 pm »

Up until recently had not really researched in depth adding information while cataloging my bottles to include detailed information about the painted scenes.

I know Charll really spends a lot of time researching each of his..

Now that I have Joey's Worlds in a Bottle am really learning a whole lot. His book really covers every imaginable popular scene..

It is worth it's weight in gold !

I wanted to add to this thread a source for new members to be able and purchase your book Joey..

I did a quick Google shopping search, but nothing came up.. Is your book available online ?  If so, could you please add a link to it here.

If you are a collector of IP bottles, and would like to be able and catalog information about the paintings within your bottles, this is a great book..

I still have to go back through my present IP bottles to add information about the different scenes, but it is going to be something that I will be doing for each and every future bottle.


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« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2012, 05:07:57 am »

Dear George,
   I'm kvelling (Yiddish for feeling really good from someone else's praise).
 I don't know where people can buy "Worlds". In Ireland I've got at least 50+ copies, and here in Jerusalem, I've got only 23 copies left. I'm cataloguing my 'new' (post-Mar.1998) acquisitions (over 200 bottles!), and then I plan to come out with another catalogue.
I'm glad that my book is helping enrich your knowledge of inside painted snuff bottles; your Forum has equally enriched my life, by giving me an online community of fellow snuff bottle friends, and I've learned a lot in the last 2+ months, as well as made a number of good friendships [IMHO ;-)!  sorry, Pat].  I was friendly with Charll before (without his mentioning the Forum to me in passing, I'd not have trusted accessing it; Thank G-D he did.), but through the Forum, I've met, been befriended and shared knowledge in both directions with you, Steven, Peter, Walter, Tom, Pat, and Misu, and connected to others as well.
 Have a great week! Joey
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« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2012, 04:18:08 pm »

Hi Joey, (  and  all)

Sorry I could  not  take  your  call    yesterday  .....    I will  explain  why  by  private  email 

But  re  this  topic   YES  GREAT !

The   Forum  has  sparked  off  SO much   daily  interaction  it's  like  having a   second  life  !

The  ICSBS  - bless  their  cotton   socks  -   sends  me  the  Journal  3  x  per  year,  but  not  one   single  ICSBS  member  has  ever  contacted  me to  talk  about  MIPSBs

But this  Forum  is  FREE  and  it  works  24/7

George  :  Very many thanks  indeed  ! I  know that  a ( very  small)   few   Forum members   have  decided  to  opt out  for  their  own  personal  reasons.  I respect  that,  and   of  course a  Forum  is    always   FORUM.  One  either  joins  in  or  not, and that's  totally free  choice. It's the   world's  ultimate   democracy .

 One  is  born  or    domiciled   into  one  or  other  country  (unless  one  chooses  to live  in  Antarctica)  where  one  must  pay  taxes  ,  be  the  taxes   great  or  small,   and  thus  -  ideally  -   there  goes  :   "no taxes  without  representation"   .  But  in this - or  indeed   any -   Forum  one  pays  NOTHING  unless  one   voluntarily     chips  in   a  few  US$   from   time to  time   so that   George  can afford  to  keep the   site  free  of  banner  adverts 

YEAH !

Cheers   Peter

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« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2012, 04:40:34 pm »

Peter, What am I, chopped liver?! And Charll; he's been a member of the ICSBS since at least 2007.
 I'm a member of the ICSBS, have been continuously since 1974, and till 23.April,  am on the board of directors as well.
 Seriously,  most ICSBS members are NOT interested in VMIPs. That is their right, and IMHO, their definite loss. You should contact Berthe and see about getting copies of Steve Carroll's article or articles on Liu Yizi. I believe Summer 2000 was the date of one; I'll ask Berthe if there was more than one.
  But I agree, George is to be commended for the Forum.
Best, Joey
 
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« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2012, 04:53:02 pm »

Hi Joey

Of  course NO  chopped  liver  !

But  after  I joined the  ICSBS    and  my name  and  contact  details  appeared  in the   members'  handbook,  I   truly  reached  out to  every   ICSBS   member  in HK.  

Most of them   did  not even   return my calls  / emails

Certainly  NO-ONE   from the  ICSBS  based  in HK  (  or  China  / Asia)    ever   contacted  me  to  say  :  "  Hey Peter : welcome to the local  chapter  of  the    ICSBS  -  You  live  in HK ?  - Me  too !  - Let's have a    beer  and   view  each others'  collections - love  to  share   with  you   "  

Well,  that's my  experience  of  the  ICSBS

But  every  new  member  of  the  Forum   gets  an  instant   "welcome" message     from  half a  dozen  guys,  and if  any new  member  emails me  direct  ( they can  find  my     reaL  email  address  in the members'  details)  I  immediately   respond

Cheers   Peter
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« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2012, 05:48:05 pm »

 Peter,
    I found that Hong Kong collectors tend to hang out in their own groups; the western collectors didn't hang out with the Chinese collectors, and neither group would socialise with the dealers, except to buy from them (I am speaking about 1978-1999, when I visited Hong Kong 8 times, and every time looked up collectors and dealers).
    I was welcomed by YF Yang and other dealers, with whom I also socialised; by western collectors (Al & Julie Stempel, Brian & Jasmine Lyons, George & Mary Bloch after 1985,); and by Chinese collectors (Chris Sin, of blessed memory and Humphrey & June Hui, all after 1985); and by Nguyet Tguyet and her husband, Mr. Markbreiter, of Arts of Asia magazine, who, being a Vietnamese/German pair, didn't seem to fit in with either group whenever I saw them.
   YF, and the Yeungs, and the Lis (all dealers), were always very hospitable; after that, Nguyet Tguyet was the most hospitable collector by far. I didn't find ANY other HKG collectors really that hospitable.
   Singapore collectors, by comparison, were much more so: Denis Low, Joe Grinberg (of course, I would also see him in Synagogue, Magain Avot, on a Shabbat), and John Ang Kwang Ming, who is now a noted expert on Buddhist Art and Antiquities in Taipei. There were others, whose names escape me.
  You, my friend, had the bad luck, from the socialising point of view, to be in Hong Kong. From the 'buying snuff bottles' angle, don't you dare complain!
  Best, Joey
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« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2012, 09:40:43 pm »

Hi Joey

Thanks for for the  input .

Seems  I'm a  real  late -comer  in the   HK collecting scene.   I  did  once  try to   touch base with all the  HK  collectors  after  I joined the   ICSBS, but  apart  from a  long telecon with Nguyet Tguyet  nothing ever  came of  it

And  anyway  , at that  time  I was  a  total   rookie

But the  S'Pore  collectors, whom I have met a  couple  of  times  -  Yantai  2009   and  BJ  / WXS  Museum opening  May 2011   -   have been  much more friendly  ( but  SO  strange that none of them  joined the  Forum except for  Richard Baey ) 

I  guess we  live  and  learn,  and to be  accepted into the  higher   echelons  of the  ICSBS  one  must  earn one's stripes , go the  conventions,   own   at  least  10 x   ZLY,    5 x  MSX   etc .....

The  only  people  in the  MIPB  field  I ever  got to  know ( and  whom   I   really    do love  and like)  are  Rosanne and  Kenny Chan, whose  office  is  just  a  stone's  throw  from my office, and my  office  is  on the   top floor  of the Chinese Methodist  Church  where they  worship. 

Rosanne   once told me    that  she  and a group  of   her Church members   pray  outside the   front  doors  of  all the  tenants  in the  building   every  Sunday  night , so  for the past  ten  years   she  - and others - have been  praying  outside  our  office. 

Which may  explain  our  astronomical  business  growth  in China  over that  time  ( 1,000 % )  and the   fact  that I now  collect   VMIPBs.......

Cheers  Peter

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« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2012, 10:31:12 pm »


 I  know that  a ( very  small)   few   Forum members   have  decided  to  opt out  for  their  own  personal  reasons.  I respect  that,  and   of  course a  Forum  is    always   FORUM.  One  either  joins  in  or  not, and that's  totally free  choice. It's the   world's  ultimate   democracy .

 

Yes, we have lost a few..

The one that puzzles me the most is Bill..  Miss him..... Of course I miss the others as well, but sure do wish Bill would chime in..

I don't know if it was right or wrong thing to do, but I contacted by email, each and every ICSBS member via the membership directory within the recent January ICSBS journal..

I can't recall exactly, but pretty sure only recieved one reply..
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« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2012, 11:44:39 pm »

Hi George

I'm  99%  sure  Bill is  only  off-line  because  he is so busy  with  other   stuff

He  has  many other  personal hobbies , like   photographing   canyons.

And , like  me  , he  finds that   when  he  logs  in    from time time it's  very hard to  navigate  back to  "all unread"  postings after  posting a   reply   without  losing the   whole  string,  so he   tends to   wait till there's a lot  and then    read them   through   

And  now that  HK  is  going  through  a huge  political  change ( for the good !)  and  there are  startling new   archaeological   finds  in  Talpiot, Jerusalem    you may   find me  less  active  on the  Forum

BTW:   I    absolutely  do  recommend    Artdaily.org    as   a   daily  news  flash  on all  that's  important  in our     field  ( and it  includes  snuff bottles )   . Superb site,  no spam, no banners

Cheers   Peter
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Peter Bentley 彭达理
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« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2012, 11:51:51 pm »

Hi again   George ,

  "I don't know if it was right or wrong thing to do, but I contacted by email, each and every ICSBS member via the membership directory within the recent January ICSBS journal "

You  are  joking.................... 

But of course   you  are  not  joking  !

WELL   DONE    !   

That was  exactly the   right  thing to   do , and if I had the  time  I would   do it  again in my  own name  (  or  your and my joint names )

In this    little   world we live  on we    all  must   reach out  and  embrace

From the  moment I   logged into this  Forum  ( do you  notice  I always  use a   CAPITAL 'F' ?  when      referring to  The  Forum  - that    shows  its  real  status  in my  mind )    I felt  that  you have a  huge, warm  heart , and that's something  that no-one  can  argue  with

LONG  LIVE THE   FORUM   and   let  us   embrace  ALL

Love and   Cheers

Peter

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Joey Silver / Si Zhouyi 義周司
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« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2012, 05:10:06 am »

Peter,
   In which area of human endeavor are 'rookies' welcomed warmly into the inner sanctum or upper echelon WITHOUT 'paying their dues', whatever those dues consist of?! You've written me of your studies at Oxford. Didn't you pay your dues to get where you are, financially, socially, scholastically, etc.?  Welcome to the Human Race, my friend. It's not called a 'race' for nothing. ;-)
   Yes, the Chans are wonderful. I forgot to mention Rosanne, because I've never met her in Hong Kong, only at conventions.
  With all due respect to George and the Forum (And I also capitalise the 'F' in Forum, for the same reason you do), it has no upper echelon. It is just like-minded people sharing knowledge.
Joey
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Joey Silver (Si Zhouyi 義周司), collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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