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500 years of calligraphy under the hammer
By Wang Jie

A COLLECTION of Chinese calligraphy spanning 500 years is the highlight of the Rongbaozhai auction today and tomorrow at the Pudong Shangri-La, West Shanghai.

The pieces are among nearly 1,200 works of art, from ancient ink-wash paintings to contemporary canvas and sculpture. Rongbaozhi is one of China’s oldest art dealers and auction houses, known for providing clear provenance for its items.

The spotlight is on a collection of 40 works collected by Qian Jingtang (1907-83) and each bears his seal. Qian was renowned for collecting ancient ink-wash paintings and calligraphy work and famous for courageously collecting and protecting works during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45).

The works on offer, titled “Chinese Calligraphy Over 500 Years,” are mostly from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties.

After the founding of People’s Republic of China, Qian donated more than 3,000 artworks to the nation.

Some works at the auction are being shown to the public for the first time, including calligraphy by famous literati Liang Tongshu (1723-1815) and Zhen Banqiao (1693-1765).

“Qian preferred to chop his name on the calligraphy and numbered each item,” says Zhen Qixin, spokeswoman for Rongbaozhai Auction House. “It’s rare to see such works in the market, representing the history and development of Chinese calligraphy over 500 years.”

Another highlight of the auction is the contemporary realistic oil painting titled “Looking Out of the Window” created this year by Guo Runwen. Born in 1955, Guo is one of the foremost painters of realistic oils. The painting depicts an elegant young woman in old-fashioned dress sitting in a chair.

Date: December 23-24, 10:30am

Address: 3/F, 33 Fucheng Rd, Pudong

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