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Ten Thousand Li up the Yangtze

Post #974 • March 21, 2007, 9:53 AM • 11 Comments

Wang Hui (Chinese, 1632-1717, Qing dynasty), Ten Thousand Li up the Yangtze (detail), ink and color on paper, Wan-go H. C. Weng Collection, courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Boston—Wan-go Weng, scion of six generations of ardent collectors, presently 88 years old and living in New Hampshire, was on hand yesterday to comment upon this handscroll. The Chinese gallery at the MFA has been updated by Tomomi Itakura to include a huge display case, which holds this piece, and they could still only get about two-thirds of its 53-foot length open. But according to Weng, it's open to the exciting part, depicting a rugged cluster of riverbanks and islands, populated with pavillions and busy oarsmen, all rendered with economical brushstrokes and subtle additions of mineral pigment.

Weng has the diaries of his great-great-grandfather, Weng Tonghe, who wrote that his dealer set the initial price on this scroll at 1000 taels of silver. He countered at 300, they settled on 400, and then Tonghe had to explain to one of his concubines that they were not, after all, going to be moving into a new house that year. The collection has seen a storied history since then, including its removal to America a couple of months before the founding of the PRC, and much of it is on display for the first time to the public. Hao Sheng, newly minted Wu Tung Curator of Chinese Art at the MFA, cleared the Japanese galleries for the occasion, and filled them with one ringer after another. We'll start with this one.

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Comment

1.

Elizabeth

March 21, 2007, 6:18 PM

Wow...what a form of story telling....'meh on the conc's new house, this was worth every coin....art above lovemaking hehe I bet she was not happy:)

2.

ahab

March 21, 2007, 6:44 PM

I'll take Yangtze River for 10,000. Um. What is "a Chinese unit of distance"?

3.

Marc Country

March 21, 2007, 7:50 PM

It's a way to measure length, Ahab. Like, for instance, the scroll itself is a mere 0.03 li in actual total length. Got it?

4.

jm

March 21, 2007, 8:25 PM

Mastery!

5.

Rene Barge

March 21, 2007, 9:11 PM

Oh... Franklin,
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
economy = restraint!
I am ready to disappear as of tomorrow, I will return, but this is precisely what I was hoping for, including the last post on Monet. Back to work... With a beer and a smile!
Best Wishes,
Rene

6.

ahab

March 21, 2007, 10:17 PM

OK, I'll take Jeopardy Allusions for 3/100ths this time. What is "MC missed it"?

7.

Rene Barge

March 21, 2007, 10:19 PM

By the way Opie,
I could spend 2 eyes a day for as long as I'm alive for a Monet. But, I must ask first... is the Monet your selling signed by him, or equal the caliber recently displayed in Wynwood by one I believe can hold a scope as tight, as one I believe may be you.
Best Regards,
Exquisite Painting!

8.

BMD72

March 22, 2007, 12:58 AM

I have a Salvador Dali available for sale if anyone is interested.

9.

opie

March 22, 2007, 6:36 AM

Thanks, Rene.

10.

germain

March 22, 2007, 6:56 AM

Thank you Franklin!
These are exquisite.

11.

albert-at

March 22, 2007, 9:17 AM

[I commenti non esiste per fare pubblicita a tu blog! - F.]

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