Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Master Ting Er Zong

There were 4 very famous inside painting masters who were active during the late Qing and earlier republic era, from 1900 to 1930. They were Ting Er Zong, Yeh Zong San, Ma Shao Shiuen and Zhou Le Yuan. They all had their own styles and characteristics in their inside paintings. Master Ting was a learned person and his paintings had a scholarly taste and style while Master Yeh was famous in his vivid colours and simplicity. Master Ma was good in portrait painting while Master Zhou was artistic in scenery painting.

Following the advice of his mother, Master Ting left Beijing and moved to the south where he opened a shop dealing in inside painting of snuff bottles. To strife in business, he had to have a variety of stuff in his shops. As a result he undertook to have snuff bottles painted by different masters including himself. As a result one may find a selection of snuff bottles painted by different masters (from the north like Beijing)  all appeared in his shops in the south. This is evident by the fact that he might be faking the masters by using their names, but the paintings were clearly done by him as the style and characteristics were unmistakably his. An expert collector who found out that there was a snuff bottle in his collection where both sides of the bottle bore the names of two Masters, one of himself while the other was Master Yeh's. This proved beyond any doubt that Master Ting was indeed using other people's  names on his own work. Below is a picture to confirm this.

Ting on one side while Yeh on the other
Yeh's style in figure painting

There are many others names such as Master Ma, Master Zhou and Master Pi also appeared on his works. But clearly Master Ting was an excellent painter and his works were very refine and scholarly in style and taste.

Master Yeh's style would be vastly different

Master Ting's landscape paintings

The snuff bottles in my collection, I believe, were done by the same artist, Master Ting. The style and characteristics were so similar to those I have seen in other peoples's collection.

by Master Ting himself

Supposedly by master Yeh
Master Yeh's style in figure painting and his use of colours were clearly different from Master Ting (see picture below). Hence, I believe the snuff bottle above was painted by Master Ting.
Similarly the other snuff bottles supposedly done by Master Zhou and Master Pi share similar style known to be that of Master Ting.
Supposedly by Master Zhou

Supposedly by Master Pi 毕荣九 
Don't you agree, the style of the other 2 snuff bottles look the same. Undoubtedly, Master Ting did use other Masters' names in his works to boost sale of his business in his shops at the south.
Master Yeh's original work

Master Yeh's style of figure painting
Master Ma
Master Ma's portrait painting
Master Zhou's landscape

Master Ting's style in figure painting


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