Yang Renkai et al. ed: QING GONG SANYI GUOBAO TEJI: SHUFA JUAN, HUIHUA JUAN. Album of Lost National Treasure of the Qing Palace: Calligraphy and Painting. Beijing, 2004. 7, 2, 624 (over 600 pp. colour plates); 9, 626 pp. (over 600 pp. colour plates) A number of foldouts. 2 vols. 45x33 cm. Cloth.
An absolutely magnificent (and very weighty) two-volume catalogue of an exhibition of early calligraphy and paintings commemorating the opening of the new Liaoning Provincial Museum. In the period leading up to his expulsion from the Forbidden City in November 1924, the last Emperor, Pu Yi, selected a number of the finest treasures from the imperial collection that were easily portable. These included an undefined (but not insignificant - it is said up to 1200) number of paintings, album leaves and calligraphy, the majority early. Pu Yi, together with his brother Pu Jie, were said to have smuggled this material, along with other light pieces, out of the Forbidden City as an insurance policy against financial distress. When Pu Yi later became the puppet ruler of the Manchukuo regime in north-east China, this material undoubtedly went with him. The paintings have since become known as the Northeast or Liaoning Group. It appears that over a period of time some of these paintings went to Japan and elsewhere. Following the defeat of the Japanese and the detention of Pu Yi, the remainder ultimately entered the Liaoning and Jilin Provincial Museums or were returned to the Gugong Museum in Beijing. This work shows 39 calligraphies and 53 paintings (in a second volume) in the Liaoning Provincial Museum, many here exhibited and illustrated for the first (and perhaps only) time due to their fragile nature. These 92 works comprise the entire holding of works known to have been taken by Pu Yi that are in the Liaoning Museum collection plus two very fine Liao paintings excavated in Liaoning province. All the calligraphies are shown actual size and in their entirety. It also includes all accompanying colophons, inscriptions and collectors seals. The paintings are again all shown in their entirety, with many also reproduced in their original sizes and again showing collectors' seals, colophons and inscriptions. The calligraphies and paintings date from the Eastern Jin to the Qing with the majority of the material being early. Comprises 1 Eastern Jin work, 7 from the Tang, 2 Five Dynasties, 41 from the Song, 2 from the Liao, 1 from the Jin, 17 Yuan, 20 Ming examples and 1 Qing work. All the works are reproduced in fine colour plates throughout with many folding out to give unprecedented reproduction of selected works. A superb record of little-known treasures from the Chinese imperial collection that have a distinct cachet due to their obscure recent history. Given the high quality of the colour plates and the reproduction of many works in their original size, this is also an important tool in the research of early Chinese painting and calligraphy.
Item 142 in List 203.
Record produced by Hanshan Tang Books, www.hanshan.com.