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Subject:Help identifying Japeness scroll
Posted By: Jaime Sun, Sep 17, 2017 IP: 2605:e000:1314:4b9:d

I have a beautiful Japanese scroll in bird and flowers throughout the season motif that I cannot identify. I think it is early 20th century. I have included signatures and what I think might be an export stamp. It is 92 inches long. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Subject:Re: Help identifying Japeness scroll
Posted By: I. Nagy Mon, Sep 18, 2017

The inscription and seal strongly support the
assumption that your scroll is Chinese.
Inscription is the title of painting,
鍾陵徐煕製 Zhongling Xu Xi zhi
Zhongling Xu Xi (Hsü Hsi) made (painted)

Zhongling (now Jiangzi,Nanchang) is the place where Xu Xi (937?-97?) the famous Southern Tang painter was born.He was the founder of one of the two major schools of flower and bird painting.
Seal reads,
鍾陵徐煕 Zhongling Xu Xi
Big seal reads,
洪武御覧之寶  Treasure seen by Hoang Wu
Hoang Wu (1368-1398) was the first emperor of the Ming dynasty.

The scroll itself seems to be a 20th century
made piece.

With regards,

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Subject:Re: Help identifying Japeness scroll
Posted By: Jaime Thu, Sep 21, 2017

Thank you for your reply! I so appreciate your time and knowledge. Best wishes!

Subject:Re: Help identifying Japeness scroll
Posted By: rat Mon, Sep 18, 2017

You might be right about the early 20th century dating, but the vibrancy of the color seems unusually strong for a picture that old. It is Chinese though rather than Japanese, and it includes a false signature of a Five Dynasties painter named Xu Xi, as well as a fake imperial seal in upper right. Xu was associated with colorful and decorative bird and flower paintings, but surviving works of that type attributed to him are all much more recent than his time, though some might date as early as Ming. (Yours does not.)

There is one other painting of extremely high quality that is old and dark now that has been associated with Xu's name: "Snow Bamboo" in the Shanghai Museum. It is completely different from the decorative works more recent people associate with him though:

One obvious aspect of this painting his how naturalistic it is, even though the broken, wavy bamboo stem and the flat appearance of the garden rocks are almost entirely unnatural. Another interesting feature is that some previous owner wrote an upside down inscription on one of the bamboo stems near the rock, that the painting is worth 100 pieces of gold (however that much was worth whenever the inscription was written). The third and to me most interesting aspect of this painting is that the entire thing is painted in negative space: the objects that look the lightest are those that are unpainted (or lightly painted); everything that is dark in this picture is where ink has been applied in varying degrees of intensity. Subtle and masterful | Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries |