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Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains: Chinese art news, June 12-18:

June 18, 2010

In June 2011, the two fragments of Huang Gongwang’s (1269-1354) magnum opus Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains will be reunited in Taiwan. Separated in a seventeenth-century fire, one short piece of this ink landscape is held on the Mainland in the Zhejiang Provincial Museum while the majority is in Taiwan’s National Palace Museum. Combined, the entire scroll would measure approximately 7 meters.

Huang Gongwang (1269-1354), Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains (1347-1350). Handscroll, ink on paper, 33 x 639.9 cm. National Palace Museum, Taiwan

Huang Gongwang, known since the Ming dynasty as one of the Four Masters of the Yuan, was a precocious child who passed the civil service exams unusually early. But his bureaucratic career was curtailed over tax irregularities, and Huang became a Daoist priest instead, supporting himself as a fortune-teller. Huang stated in his inscription on Fuchun Mountains that he created the work in a single energetic outpouring; in reality, he seems to have first sketched in the basic structure and then worked sporadically over three years from 1347-1350 to complete the scroll. Huang gifted it to a fellow Daoist named Wuyong, but the painting changed hands many times. Notable collectors of the long section now in Taiwan included the Ming master Dong Qichang (1555-1636) and the Qianlong emperor (r. 1736-1796). Both this painting (known as the Wuyong version after its recipient) and a copy of it (now known as the Ziming version) entered the imperial collection in the eighteenth century. The Qianlong emperor believed the copy to be the original, heavily inscribing it and sparing the original his “excessive appreciation.”

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*Evidence suggests that human sacrifices persisted after the Shang dynasty.

*The largest city ruins yet were excavated from the Eastern Zhou (770-256 BCE).

*General Cao Cao’s (155-220) tomb continues to reveal new secrets.

*Buddhist relics were unveiled in Nanjing.

*An eighth century imperial sarcophagus returns home.

*A new book profiles the Diamond Sutra (868 CE).

*A scroll by imperial court painter Ma Hezhi (act. second half of twelfth century) fetched $17.6m at auction.

*Unusually, a rapidly rising interest in small items like snuff bottles and yixing teapots is setting auction records.

*Even as plans for an Old Summer Palace theme park are announced, the Summer Palace displays very rare early photographs and artifacts.

*The 2010 winners of the Chinese Contemporary Art Awards included painter and installation artist Duan Jianyu 段建宇 for Best Artist; and Chinese video artists Sun Xun 孙逊 for Best Young Artist and Zhang Peili 张培力 for Lifetime Contribution.

*In contemporary Chinese art exhibitions, the first show at Shanghai’s new Minsheng Art Museum surveys 30 years of Chinese contemporary art, Rong Rong and Inri have their first restrospective, and Zeng Fanzhi does Bulgaria.

*One of the top Chinese painting collections, the Freer puts nine centuries of its masterpieces on display.

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