The coastal province of Zhejiang is the subject of a freeing campaign in 1727 CE during the reign of Yongzheng. The Qianlong emperor remains vigilant. During his 27th year, 1762 CE, he appoints as Education Commissioner of Zhejiang for a three-year mission one of his most brilliant mandarins named Qian Weicheng.
Qian's career is a very good example of the extreme and multidisciplinary skills required to the mandarins. Received at the examinations at the age of 23 in the tenth year of Qianlong, he had become as a jurist an important member of the imperial bureaucracy. Poet, calligrapher and artist, he knows how to imitate the ancients. His poetry is pleasant and original.
In the tradition of the Qing imperial travels, Qian executes landscape drawings of the Zhejiang in handscrolls of great length. His view of the Yandang Mountains has been preserved.
On April 3 in Hong Kong, Sotheby's sells a 34 cm high scroll of ten landscapes of Mount Tiantai, for a total length of 4.60 m. It is estimated HK $ 50M, lot 3301.
The drawing without washes is of a topographical accuracy and includes the Buddhist monasteries and some human presence. Yet Qian, who had visited Yandang, did not walk Tiantai personally as his tour plans were each time abandoned due to bad weather. He was probably relying upon pre-existing images to avoid confessing this failure.
Each of the ten views is accompanied by a long descriptive commentary by Qian and by an autograph poem written by Qianlong and dated by him in 1774 CE, two years after the death of the artist. The artwork was removed from the Palace in the early 1920s by the last deposed Qing emperor in an effort to protect the imperial patrimony from looters.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's including the vision of moving grounds often practiced by this auction house.
SOLD for HK$ 147M including premium