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Lot 260: ANONYMOUS (LATE QING DYNASTY) SIX ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE STRANGE TALES OF LIAOZHAI (LIAOZHAI TUSHUO) 43.5cm high, 33.5cm wide (sight)
November 8, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
ANONYMOUS (LATE QING DYNASTY)
SIX ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE STRANGE TALES OF LIAOZHAI (LIAOZHAI TUSHUO)
comprising six leaves, each framed and glazed on both sides, ink and colour on paper, with gilt highlights, illustrating the stories of Lu Yaguan, Bird Whisperer (Niao Yu), Luo Zu, Jin Yongnian, Dragon and Spider (Long Xi Zhu) and Yu Qu''e (6)
43.5cm high, 33.5cm wide (sight)
- Good overall appearance with the delicacy of the paintings well-preserved
- There is a crack to the glass on the reverse side of one painting
- One painting appears to have suffered water damage, leaving the page creased after drying, but this has not affected the painting itself
- Discoloration and foxing to the paper as consistent with age
Under the Conditions of Sale applicable to the sale of the lot, buyers must satisfy themselves as to each and every aspect of the quality of the lot, including (without limitation) its authorship, attribution, condition, provenance, authenticity, age, suitability and origin. Lots are sold on an ''as is'' basis but the actual condition of the lot may not be as good as indicated by its outward appearance. In particular parts may have been replaced or renewed and lots may not be authentic or of satisfactory quality.
Any statement in relation to the lot is merely an expression of opinion of the seller or Lyon & Turnbull and should not be relied upon as an inducement to bid on the lot. Lots are available for inspection prior to the sale and you are strongly advised to examine any lot in which you are interested prior to the sale. Our condition report has not been prepared by a professional conservator, restorer or engineer.
Formerly in the collection of Brenda Cleather (1905-2011); thence by descent. Brenda acquired the paintings from an antique dealer on Connaught Street, London, in 1940 or 1941. The dealer was closing down his business because of the bombing of London during the Blitz and was keen to clear his stock. Brenda worked as a Studio Manager for the BBC European Service and was therefore required to remain in London for the duration of the war. Before the war, Brenda had been an actress, performing under the name ''Brenda Gordon Cleather'' in productions of the Thorndike/Casson company, in the West End and on Broadway, with the likes of Laurence Olivier and Jack Hawkins.
Painting the Strange
Pu Songling (1614-1715) is one of the most colourful and eccentric figures of Chinese literature. Sitting his first Imperial examination at the age 18, Pu failed to become a civil official numerous times, until the age of 67 when he was finally awarded the Gongsheng degree, reputedly only because the examiner was fond of his books.
Strange Tales from Liaozhai Studio (Chinese: Liao Zhai Zhi Yi) - Pu''s masterpiece - consists of 674 short stories. Legend has it that Pu used to set up a tea stand at the roadside, stopping travellers and asking them to share bizarre anecdotes. If their tales featured the supernatural, Pu would give them a bowl of porridge. Pu compiled these tales over 30 years into one of China''s favourite short story collections. So beloved are they, that the merchant Xu Run commissioned their illustrations as a gift for Empress Cixi''s birthday in 1894. Various artists collaborated, creating 48 albums containing 725 paintings, of which 46 albums are now held in The National Museum of China after they went missing during the wars.
The present set of six paintings demonstrate exceptional craftsmanship, delicate outlining and colouring, and meticulous gilt highlights, and are accompanied by calligraphy on the reverse. One noteworthy painting illustrates the story of Jin Yongnian, the fair merchant whose elderly wife is blessed with a child at the age of seventy-eight as a reward for Jin''s virtue.