Special Presentation – Discovery of An Extremely Rare Yuan Dynasty Blue & White Porcelain Ware【中英文版】

元青花山水瓷碗 | Yuan Dynasty Blue and White Porcelain Ware

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1. Uncover the Mysteries of an Extremely Rare Yuan Dynasty Blue and White Porcelain Ware with Landscape Paintings
2. The Legendary “Pine Trees and Rocks” Paintings – Chinese Art History from Tang to Yuan Dynasty
3. Poetic, Symbolic and Nostalgic – Distinctive Styles of Yuan Literati Paintings
4. The Fisherman’s Wisdom
5. Yuan Zhu Wen – A Polished Yuan Dynasty Seal
Afterword

元青花山水瓷碗 | Yuan Dynasty Blue and White Porcelain Ware, Inside Image

1. Uncover the Mysteries of an Extremely Rare Yuan Dynasty Blue and White Porcelain Ware with Landscape Paintings

This stunning blue and white porcelain bowl has many distinctive attributes of Yuan dynasty porcelain ware. The striking underglaze paintings in cobalt closely resemble free style Chinese ink paintings on Xuan rice paper.

The history of blue and white ceramics could be traced back to the Tang and Song dynasty, however they were mostly overglaze wares.

釉上彩青花罐 宋仁宗 | Blue and White Overglaze Jar, Northern Song Dynasty

The cobalt blue pigment imported from western Asia was successfully applied as underglazes on white porcelain surface in Jingdezhen during the Yuan dynasty for the first time in ceramic history. It was a sensational phenomenon and a major breakthrough in world history of ceramic innovation and technology.

The intense blue-violet color contrasted beautifully with the snow white porcelain background, the cobalt blue outlines appeared submerged beneath the surface of the porcelain after high temperature firing. This effect would be the most important telltale sign of the Yuan dynasty blue and white porcelain ware, as the highly valuable cobalt blue pigment quickly ran out of supply in early Ming dynasty.

Thin transparent glaze, a network of fine lines within the glazed surface, light brown colored spots, are all characteristics of Yuan blue and white porcelain ware. Tiny rock pieces in the clay body could be seen twinkling under direct light, this is also a unique trait belonging to Yuan blue and white ware.

There is a band of Chrysanthemum pattern on the inside of the bowl. Chrysanthemum was a favorite decorative motif in Yuan dynasty, on a par with or even surpassing the popularity of lotus and peony. The typical chrysanthemum motif of Yuan dynasty blue and white porcelain ware featured a flat circular flower design, with single layer petals unfilled with color, and a lattice patterned center.

Praised by the Chinese literati as one of the four noble plants, Chrysanthemum has long been a symbolic flower in Chinese history, representing many virtues in a well learned gentleman – tenacity, courage, humility, honesty and integrity. The Yuan dynasty literati class particularly identified themselves with this symbolic flower, due to the impact of the sudden change of society. Many members of the Yuan literati class chose the path of returning to nature, hidden from the hustle and bustle of the outside world, evoking the scenes from the famous poem written by TAO Yuanming (365 – 427 AD), the picture perfect pastoral scene prominently placed picking the simple and pure flower – Chrysanthemum as a symbol of man and nature happily lived in one.

The influence of Yuan blue and white ware could also be found in the neighboring country of Japan, where it was known as sometsuke, mimicking the forms and decorations of Yuan ware.

Ming and Qing dynasties continued to make the popular blue and white ware, but people seemed to have all but forgotten the dynamic past of the Yuan dynasty blue and white ware until the 1950s, when authentic Yuan dynasty cobalt blue and white ware was first discovered and recognized worldwide. The reproduction or copying of Yuan ware only started to appear in the 1980s, therefore If you owned a Yuan dynasty blue and white ware before the 1980s you would have a great chance of owning an authentic piece.

This extremely rare blue and white porcelain bowl was collected in the early 20th century, had never been shown to the public since. It had a so-called chicken feet mark inside the foot ring, which could only seen on an ‘old kiln’ ware.

The importance of the discovery of this rare piece would be hard to emphasize, in that it would be the first known piece of Yuan dynasty blue and white porcelain ware with underglaze landscape paintings in cobalt, providing a cornerstone piece for the research of Yuan literati paintings and Yuan dynasty ceramic art history. A significant advantage of paintings on porcelain surface is its timeless quality, comparing to silk and paper mediums.

The legacy of Yuan blue and white porcelain has been carried on by the widespread popularity of Ming and Qing ware. Let’s remember the glorious past of the Yuan blue and white porcelain today with a comprehensive analysis of two master paintings on the inside and outside of this bowl.

2. The Legendary “Pine Trees and Rocks” Paintings – Chinese Art History from Tang to Yuan Dynasty

The blue and white landscape painting on the inside of the bowl is breathtakingly beautiful and graceful. The brushstrokes are strong, effortless, powerful and unconstrained, exuding great spirit and energy. Much like freestyle ink painting on Xuan rice paper, underglaze painting in cobalt has to be done in a very fluid and swift manner, a true test for a master artisan. The eye-catching blue and white contrast gives the picture more visual impact and a unifying effect.

The picture perfect scene of mountains and lake very likely referred to the renowned lake Taihu area. A large portion of the space in between the mountains was left unpainted, creating an endlessly open space, far and away, indicating it being the mirror like surface of the great lake Taihu. This was called “form without a form”, “image without an image” by Lao Tzu in his Taoist classic “Tao Te Ching”.

The focal point of the painting is undoubtedly the awe inspiring pair of pine trees, standing tall on the rocks, reaching to the sky and heavens above.

The pine trees were painted larger than life, out of proportion for a meaningful purpose. “Pine Trees and Rocks” was a key theme which frequently appeared in Yuan dynasty literati paintings.

The treasured tradition of painting the magnificent evergreen trees could be traced as far back as the Tang dynasty.

The Tang dynasty painter ZHANG Zao was a legend in this genre. His free style ink paintings of pine trees and rocks were vividly recorded and described in several Tang dynasty books of masterpiece paintings.

ZHANG Zao would “perform” his extraordinary brush skills in front of a live audience, painting vigorously in lightning speed with both hands at the same time, leaving the audience tongue-tied and awestruck. “It was not painting, it was Tao.” murmured the viewing audience.

Strong and resilient, evergreen and long lasting, reaching the heavens with open arms, the pine tree has been a legendary cultural symbol in China since ancient times, especially among the literati class.

In the book “Famous Paintngs of the Five Dynasties”, it was revealed that Monk Dayu wrote an interesting verse asking for a painting from the master painter JING Hao, specifically of pine trees and rocks. Undaunted by the special request, JING Hao wrote back promising a spirited painting fit for a ZEN monastery.

ZHANG Zao’s painting style enjoyed a renaissance during the Yuan dynasty.

《寒林平野图》五代宋初李成 | LI Cheng, Five Dynasties, Winter Woods

ZHAO Meng-fu, the 11th generation grandson of Emperor Taizu of the Song dynasty, played a pivotal role in the movement of the revival of this ancient art, particularly alluding to Tang, Five dynasties and the Northern Song dynasty. He avidly advocated for the expressive painting style, inspired by poetry, literature and calligraphy.

ZHAO Meng-fu’s painting “A Pair of Pine Trees” could be viewed today in museum collections.

元 赵孟頫 《双松平远图卷》| ZHAO Meng-Fu, A Pair of Pine Trees

WU Zhen, one of the four famous Yuan literati painters, was also a faithful follower of ZHAO’s renaissance movement. One of his favorite painting subject was the pine tree. His free style painting of “A Pair of Trees” awakened a time long gone, evoked a sense of nostalgia for traditional values.

The pines trees in WU’s masterful hands took on the spirit of the dragon, and looked dignified, robust and compelling. WU Zhen liked to paint with brush soaked with ink, in smooth and effortless movement with unbridled passion, his works showed great brush control skills and ink tonal contrast.

In classic text of Chinese literature and philosophy, the characters of the pine tree were held with the highest regard. Confucius and Taoist Master Chuang Tzu both spoke highly of pine tree’s qualities of righteousness and perseverance in the face of adversity. The great Tang dynasty poet LI Bai also motivated others to learn from the pine tree and be a man of integrity.

王蒙 溪山风雨图册 故宫博物院藏 | WANG Meng, Mountain Stream in Rain, Palace Museum

The Yuan dynasty literati class found themselves in a very cold and hostile environment under the Mongols rule, the pine tree hence became a pertinent symbol of an ideal gentleman’s uprightness and worthiness.

3. Poetic, Symbolic and Nostalgic – Distinctive Styles of Yuan Literati Paintings

Inside the bowl, situated to the right of the pine trees are lofty mountain peaks, the dramatic circular shape of the mountain ranges surrounding the lake bore the resemblance of a soaring dragon. The picture brings to mind Yuan literati painter WANG Meng’s famous work “Green Bian Mountain Hideaway” and Northern Song master landscape painter GUO Xi’s “Early Spring”.

郭熙《早春图》| Early Spring, by GUO Xi (1020 – 1090)

Professor John Sallis, Frederick J. Adelmann Chair in Philosophy at Boston College, analyzed GUO Xi’s “Early Spring” with vivid descriptions in his book “Senses of Landscape”:

“The dynamic tension is displayed in the way the mountain is presented. The two huge boulders at its base, especially the upper one, which forms part of the mountain itself, look as though they are twisting, turning, changing shape; that is, their appearance is one of virtual movement, of inner dynamism. …the figure formed is that of an elongated S; not only does the mountain assume the shape of a dragon (symbolizing, in turn, the emperor), but also, since this figure is infused with dynamic tension, the mountain has the appearance of virtually rotating.”

The Bian Mountain is located in WANG Meng’s hometown, Huzhou, Ming Dynasty Chinese painter, scholar, calligrapher and art theorist DONG Qichang applauded it as “No.1 Mountain in the World”.

Within the blue & white landscape painting inside the bowl, on the path at the shore are two men making their way toward the thatched house hidden in the pine forests. An elderly man walks in front with a cane, followed by an assistant carrying a Guzheng (musical instrument).

This scene is also known as “Traveling with Guzheng to Visit A Friend”.  Yuan literati painting style showed clearly in this scene, only a few brush strokes were applied to sketch out the silhouette, posture and movement of the human figures. This scene also recalls the Chinese literary classic of “High Mountain and Flowing Water”, the story about a master music composer who only became the master of his craft after being inspired by the majestic mountains he visited. The underlying theme is the return to nature for inspiration and personal enlightenment.

赵孟頫《洞庭东山图》,北京故宫博物院藏 | ZHAO Meng-Fu, Lake and Mountains, Palace Museum

ZHAO Meng-fu, also known as the Pine & Snow Taoist, was a key figure and founder of the Yuan dynasty literati painting. “Mountains with mist and clouds are my teachers and inspirations”, the Pine & Snow Taoist urged his students to learn to paint by observing the subtleties of nature.

春山瑞松圖 宋·米芾 台北故宮博物院藏 | MI Fu, Northern Song Dynasty, Spring Mountains & Pine Trees

Yuan literati artists studied and mingled the techniques of both Northern and Southern style Chinese landscape masters – especially DONG Yuan, JU Ran, LI Cheng and GUO Xi, aiming at a revival of the great classic Chinese painting traditions.

The Yuan literati artists were well learned intellectuals and sophisticate scholars, they breathed feelings into their art, their landscape paintings were imbued with culture and style, poetry and calligraphy, it was an attempt to make man and nature united in one.

元 倪瓒 松亭山色图 | NI Zan, Yuan Dynasty, Pine Pavilion with Mountain View

Their efforts resulted in a brilliant school of art during the Yuan dynasty – promoting natural, unpretentious, simplistic, poetic, impromptu and genuine stylistic characters.

The Yuan dynasty literati artists lived or sojourned mostly in Huzhou and lake Taihu area on the south side of the Yangtze river, including ZHAO Meng-fu, his grandson WANG Meng, WU Zhen, NI Zan among others. Therefore their paintings had the same thread and common interests – the permanent subject being the beautiful lake Taihu and the verdant green mountains surrounding the famous lake.

王蒙 青卞隐居图 | WANG Meng, Green Bian Mountain Hideaway

4. The Fisherman’s Wisdom

On the outside of the bowl, there is a remarkable fisherman themed painting in cobalt. A man with a rain hat sat in his small fishing boat on a vast lake at the foot of the mountains, with the paddle in one hand while holding the fishing rod in the other hand, his eyes fixated on the water. It looks as though a scene was taken from Yuan dynasty literati painter WU Zhen’s various paintings on the fisherman subject.

元青花山水瓷碗 | Yuan Dynasty Blue and White Porcelain Ware
“The fisherman lived a secluded life, took delight in fishing”
– WANG Yi, Han dynasty writer, provincial governor

The fisherman is a symbolic Taoist image, which could trace back to “Chu Ci”, an anthology of the State of Chu, written during the Warring States period of ancient China. The interchange between the fisherman and QU Yuan, a prominent patriotic Chu poet and minister, was considered a legendary tale of the Taoist philosophy.

QU Yuan declared his dismissal by the court was because “all the world is muddy and I alone am clear, and all men are drunk and I alone am sober.”

The fisherman differed from QU Yuan’s assertion, singing – “When the Cang-lang’s waters are clear, I can wash my hat-strings in them; When the Cang-lang’s waters are muddy, I can wash my feet in them.” (David Hawkes’ English version)

The fisherman’s words were in accordance with the essence of Taoist philosophy -“The sage was never still and stagnant, he was able to flow with the moments.”

The great Tang dynasty poet ZHANG Zhi-he called himself the “Mist and Waves Fisherman”. He wrote a most famous poem on a solo fishing trip near Xisai mountain of Huzhou.

The Fisherman
by ZHANG Zhi-he
translated by Ayling & MacKintosh

In front of Xisaishan the herons fly in white,
Where peach trees blossom and water flows and mandarin fish grow fat.
With his rain-hat bamboo-green,
And his cape the green of grass,
What need to turn about though wind and drizzle across?

The fisherman’s idealistic life had great appeals to the Yuan dynasty literati artists, owing largely to the abrupt disruption of society and social order. The worsening situation for the Yuan literati class prompted the artists to abandon the harsh reality and embrace the painless nature, the lone fisherman’s image hence appeared time and time again in Yuan literati paintings and screenplays.

赵孟頫《江村渔乐图》,美国克利夫兰艺术博物馆藏 | ZHAO Meng-Fu, Happy Fishermen of the River Village, Cleveland Museum of Art

“YAN Ziling fishing in Qilitan” or “YAN Ziling Diaoyutai” is a famous Yuan dynasty screen play written by GONG Tian-ting. The plot took place in the Han dynasty – the protagonist YAN Ziling saved the life of Han emperor Guangwu in a crisis. The emperor later invited Yan to join him in his court, Yan declined, still chose to live a free and happy fisherman’s life in Qilitan, and enjoy the breathtaking views of Fuchun mountains.

WU Zhen, a famous literati painter of Yuan dynasty, also called himself the “Plum Taoist”. Wu’s favorite subject was the fisherman. His fisherman themed paintings displayed exceptional brush skills, humorous poetry and calligraphy on each painting. They were thought provoking and delightful to view in all aesthetic senses.

5. Yuan Zhu Wen – A Polished Yuan Dynasty Seal

The inscription on the bottom of the bowl contains one Chinese character ‘Qing’ in underglaze blue within a blue square frame. The character ‘Qing’ could imply either blue or green color in Chinese. It could refer to the spectacular cobalt blue color it adopted, or the green colors of the pine trees, the mountains and the lake, all key elements in the paintings on the inside and outside of the bowl.

The seal script resembled Yuan Zhu Wen, which was created by ZHAO Meng-fu. He would write the characters for a new seal with the seal script and let the engraver complete the seal making work. ZHAO Meng-fu’s style is sleek and smooth, well balanced. The characters written with the Yuan Zhu Wen seal script have the signature rounded edges. Single characters are often square shaped.

ZHAO Meng-fu was the foremost calligrapher in Yuan dynasty. The multitalented literati artist and poet was also the 11th generation grandson of the founding emperor of the Song dynasty.

Kublai Khan was so impressed by his talents, he promoted ZHAO to be a top ranking official in the Yuan dynasty court.

ZHAO Meng-fu was also well versed in Taoism and Zen Buddhism. The Zen master Zhong Feng Ming Ben was very close with the ZHAO family while residing in Huzhou.

ZHAO Meng-fu and his artist son ZHAO Yong both had written in calligraphy Ming Ben’s Zen style poetry “The Verdant Mountains” and “The White Clouds”, both still available for viewing today.

赵孟頫行书《青山吟》| ZHAO Meng-Fu, Calligraphy, Green Mountain Poem

Ming Ben celebrated the mountain’s luscious greens and its eternity with Zen philosophy. The green mountain mentioned in the poem should refer to the same mountain in the painting “The Green Bian Mountain Hideaway”, painted by ZHAO’s grandson WANG Meng.

WANG Meng once expressed his fondness for the Bian mountain in a poem – “I would never forget the green mountain whilst in the clouds”.

Speaking of symbolism, ZHAO Meng-fu was also a master in getting a message across without being too obvious.

On ZHAO Meng-fu’s famous painting “Gentleman on Horseback”, which some commentators said was his self-portrait, ZHAO Meng-fu wrote a comment – “Painting is demanding, reading it is even more challenging. Takes a discerning eye to get a clue”.

赵孟頫《人骑图》| ZHAO Meng-Fu, Gentleman on Horseback

About 500 years later, Emperor Qian Long of the Qing dynasty also wrote on the same painting with an answer to ZHAO Meng-fu’s concern – “The Gentleman on Horseback painting is indeed hard to read, but I got it”

This Yuan blue and white bowl contains vast spans of mountains and water, rich history and culture, can you read it my friend?

Afterword

Recently an American client brought several Chinese antiques to show me, they were all collected in the early 20th century.

After further examination and research, I came to the conclusion that this is an extremely rare Yuan dynasty blue and white porcelain ware with underglaze landscape paintings in cobalt, possibly the first of its kind and a significant discovery in world ceramic art history.

The importance of the discovery of this rare piece would be hard to emphasize, it would be a cornerstone piece for the research of Yuan literati paintings and cobalt blue and white porcelain.

A beautiful art is usually created out of many inspirations and influences, historical or from the same period, it would never be an isolated occurrence. In order to fully understand one particular art form, we need to broaden the horizon and tackle the subject from related angles and perspectives.

The above article is an attempt to explain the cultural background in the creation of the legendary Yuan dynasty blue and white porcelain ware, I would reference historical contexts in Chinese literature, poetry, paintings, aesthetics, philosophy and ceramic workmanship to reveal the motivation, artistic styles and cultural impact of the Yuan dynasty literati art movement.

Please feel free to contact me if your museum is interested in hosting an exhibition.

Tiffany M. Wang
Email: info@BeyondDelish.com

 

「特别推介」元气淋漓幛犹湿 – 一件非同寻常的元青花山水瓷

Click Here For English Version

一、青翠浓艳青花瓷 – 考证元青花山水瓷碗的主要特征
二、气傲烟霞,势凌风雨 – 论松石图从唐代至元的形成和发展
三、元气淋漓幛犹湿 – 论元代文人画
四、青箬笠,绿蓑衣,斜风细雨不须归 – 谈渔父的人生智慧
五、元朱文,圆朱文 – 高雅的元代篆刻印
后记

元青花山水瓷碗 | Yuan Dynasty Blue and White Porcelain Ware

一、青翠浓艳青花瓷 – 考证元青花山水瓷碗的主要特征

此件青花大碗极不寻常。上品苏麻离青料呈色青翠浓艳,蓝中带紫,有类似于中国水墨画效果,用苏麻离青绘制的图画深入胎体,令胎面有凹凸不平立体感。纹饰深入胎骨,呈“潜伏”状,有生动的立体感和浮动感。釉面质感独特,釉层薄,哑光,有细密的皮壳层和丝状条纹,局部呈现淡黄色。内壁砂眼及稀朗小颗粒石明显可见,迎光斜视星光闪烁,又称阴阳光点。

碗内壁上缘有一周连续的菊花纹和如意纹,菊花为单层略扁圆,花瓣留白,花蕊斜网格状如葵花,具有典型的元代扁菊纹特征。碗的外壁外圈足上绘有一周青花如意云头纹饰。

青花瓷或白地青花瓷的历史一直可以追溯到唐代河南巩义窑,但唐代、宋代的青花瓷大多是青花釉上彩瓷。

釉上彩青花罐 宋仁宗 | Blue and White Overglaze Jar, Northern Song Dynasty

元代的景德镇湖田窑首次成功烧制青花釉下彩瓷,用氧化钴作成色剂,在1300摄氏度的高温下精美异常的釉下彩青花瓷第一次出现在世人面前,举世为之倾倒。其中最为突出的当属用苏麻离青着色的青花瓷。苏麻离青产自西亚,呈色浓艳靓丽,蓝中带紫。苏麻离青价格不菲,双倍于黄金,主要供给元朝宫廷和达官贵族,同时也远销海外。上品元青花烧制温度控制得当,故而图案清晰晕散适度,且层次鲜明。

头青戴采照子,景德镇落马桥窑址 | Two Cobalt Glaze Test Pieces, Jingdezhen Luomaqiao Kiln Site

元代青花瓷纹饰出现大量时代特征明显的菊花纹。古代瓷器常见的花卉纹主要有牡丹,莲花和菊花。陶瓷上的菊花纹最早出现在汉代,宋代时 “花卉纹以莲花、牡丹多见,菊花次之。” 以牡丹、莲花纹为主,菊花纹比例很小的局面到了元代得到了彻底改变,菊花纹在景德镇和磁州窑等地大量兴起,甚至有超过牡丹莲花纹之势。

落马桥窑址元青花 | Yuan Dynasty Blue and White Porcelain Ware, Jingdezhen, Luomaqiao Kiln Site

这种现象的产生与元代社会背景密不可分。菊花自古就是中国文人笔下的四君子之一,以物比德,菊花象征着凌霜耐寒和坚强不屈。白居易在《咏菊》中写道:

一夜新霜著瓦轻,
芭蕉新折败荷倾。
耐寒唯有东篱菊,
金粟初开晓更清。

菊花还有高洁隐士的象征,晋代诗人陶渊明的田园诗里描绘回归自然的隐逸生活:

结庐在人境,而无车马喧。
问君何能尔,心远地自偏。
采菊东篱下,悠然见南山。
山气日夕佳,飞鸟相与还。
此中有真意,欲辨已忘言。

元青花的影响力波及日本,日本人称之为染付,从器形到装饰皆仿效元代青花瓷。对元青花瓷的认知有着很长一段时期的误区,明清两代都无元青花瓷的记载。元青花的概念最早出现在上个世纪五十年代,直到上个世纪八十年代才有元青花仿品出现,而且均为照本宣科。

这件罕见的青花瓷收藏于上个世纪初,完全具备元青花瓷的各项特征,从未公开示人,器底有鸡爪纹,老窑器特有的胎记。此件珍贵的元青花瓷断代准确性毋庸置疑。

这将是迄今为止世界上发现的唯一一件元青花山水瓷,同时为研究元青花和元代文人画提供了不可多得的宝贵文化遗产。无论是丝绸还是宣纸上的画作都有令人遗憾的保存时间限制,而这件绘制在瓷器上的元代文人画可以保存至永远。

元青花的历史价值不容忽视,元青花的开创性进步为后来者明清青花瓷铺路搭桥,其功不可没。

二、气傲烟霞,势凌风雨 – 论松石图从唐代至元的形成和发展

此件青花碗内壁绘有一幅壮观的青花山水图,以苏麻里青代墨勾勒渲染。笔力劲爽,笔意豪宕,秀劲清雅。整幅画面雄奇苍浑,苍郁烟润,苍率中蕴清逸。以浓艳深沉的苏麻离青勾勒山石林木轮廓,淡青衬染,浓淡相间,层次分明,水墨氤氲,极似水墨山水画效果。青花釉下彩绘画一气呵成,显示出画家高超的笔墨技巧和深厚的艺术功底。

此图取太湖一带秀丽清幽的湖光山色,画面视角开阔。江面碧水如镜,青山浮水,空灵曼妙。烟水浩渺,意境旷远。近景长松劲拔,参天耸立,枝干虬劲,气势雄伟。远处山势险峻,山峰突兀奇崛,石壁悬空,峰峦起伏,蜿蜒数里,景物旷远。近景与远景之间的过渡部分为大片空白,不着一色,是为湖水,意境开阔。画面构图奇中有平,平中见奇,实乃画法至高境界。

“松石图” 或 “双松平远图” 占据画面核心位置,画法构图迥异于明清,深得唐人古意。张彦远在《历代名画记》中说“树石之状,妙于韦鶠,穷于张通。〈张璪也〉”。朱景玄在《唐朝名画录》中称张璪 “惟松树特出古今,能用笔法。尝以手握双管,一时齐下”。赞美张璪的松石山水画 “气傲烟霞,势凌风雨,槎枿之形,鳞皴之状,随意纵横,应手间出。其山水之状,则高低秀丽,咫尺重深,石尖欲落,泉喷如吼。其近也,若逼人而寒;其远也,若极天之尽。”

唐代文学家符载感叹道:“观夫张公之艺,非画也,真道也。” 符载用形象的语言描绘了一代名师张璪绘制 “松石图” 的情形:“若流电激空,惊飙戾天,摧挫斡掣,撝霍瞥列,毫飞墨喷,捽掌如裂,离合惝恍,忽生怪状。及其终也,则松鳞皴,石巉岩,水湛湛,云窈眇。” 张璪 “松石图” 的艺术魅力达到了 “至人凝视,心境双寂” 的禅意境界。

元稹在《画松》中说:“张璪画古松,往往得神骨。翠帚扫春风,枯龙戛寒月。流传画师辈,奇态尽埋没。纤枝无萧洒,顽干空突兀。乃悟埃尘心,难状烟霄质。”

被后世尊为北方山水画派之祖的中国五代画家荆浩在《笔法记》中写到:“夫随类赋彩,自古有能。如水墨晕章,兴吾唐代。故张璪员外树石,气韵俱盛,笔墨积微,真思卓然,不贵五彩。旷古绝今,未之有也。”

北宋刘道醇在《五代名画补遗》中记有青莲寺僧大愚向荆浩求画,云:

六幅故牢建,知君恣笔踪。不求千涧水,止要两株松。
树下留磐石,天边纵远峰。近岩幽湿处,惟藉墨烟浓。

荆浩对答曰:

恣意纵横扫,峰峦次第成,笔尖寒树瘦,墨淡野云轻。
岩石喷泉窄,山根到水平。禅房时一展,兼称苦空情。

这一问一答清晰的描绘出唐五代时期松石图的取景构图和笔墨意境。

《寒林平野图》五代宋初李成 | LI Cheng, Five Dynasties, Winter Woods

至元代,宋宗室宋太祖赵匡胤十一世孙赵孟頫提倡文人画复古主义,恢复继承唐五代北宋的古韵遗风。据记载,赵孟頫的道教题材作品中就有《松石老子图》。

元代文人画的开拓创新之处是以精湛高超的书法用笔入画,诗书画结合,画中有诗,诗情画意,增加绘画的抒情性,升华作品的文学意境。现存世有赵孟頫绘制的一幅《双松平远图》。

元 赵孟頫 《双松平远图卷》| ZHAO Meng-Fu, A Pair of Pine Trees in Solitude

元四家之一的吴镇尤喜画松,他的代表作有《双松平远图》。画面苍松挺立,势若虬龙,参天耸立,笔法遒劲,极具艺术感染力。吴镇的风格直追唐宋,尊循赵孟頫倡导的 “古意”,并善用湿墨渲染,潇洒娴熟,彰显笔墨分量。作品浓淡分明,层次空间感强,深得古意,将《松石图》的传统完好的继承和发展下来。《桐阴论画》称吴镇的画 “墨汁淋漓,古厚之气,扑人眉宇”。

孔子曾赞松日:“岁寒然后知松柏之后凋。”

《庄子•德充符》曰:“受命于地,唯松柏独也正,在冬夏青青;受命于天,唯尧舜独也正,在万物之首”之语,将松柏与尧舜相提并论。

《荀子•大略》曰:“岁不寒,无以知松柏。事不难,无以知君子”,将松柏视为君子的象征,借以比喻在逆境中坚守节操的高士。

李白《赠韦侍御黄裳》诗云:

太华生长松,亭亭凌霜雪。
天与百尺高,岂为微飙折。
桃李卖阳艳,路人行且迷。
春光扫地尽,碧叶成黄泥。
愿君学长松,慎勿作桃李。
受屈不改心,然后知君子。

白居易《和松树》诗云:

亭亭山上松,一一生朝阳,
森耸上参天,柯条百尺长。
岁暮满山雪,松色郁青苍,
彼如君子心,秉操贯冰霜。
王蒙 溪山风雨图册 故宫博物院藏 | WANG Meng, Mountain Stream in Rain, Palace Museum

参天松木,四季常青,谓君子气节。不畏冰霜,傲然挺立,不屈不挠,真君子也。在元代特殊的社会背景下,以醒目的松树为题材的元代文人画愈发显得寓意深刻。

三、元气淋漓幛犹湿 – 论元代文人画

此碗内壁青花山水图右侧山势陡峭,奇峰突起,环湖山脉以龙脉式取势布景,如同游龙在云雾中若隐若现,与郭熙《早春图》的龙脉山势如出一辙,颇有古意。主峰形态酷似元代王蒙笔下的《青卞隐居图》,即董其昌称之为 “天下第一” 的湖州卞山。赵孟頫有诗云:“何当便理南归棹,呼洒登楼看卞山”。湖岸小径一老者策杖前行,小童携琴紧随其后。前方奇山峻岭下有房屋隐没在松林间。整幅画面幽寂,空灵虚旷,耐人寻味。

这幅山水画中描绘的 “携琴访友” 有很强的元代文人画特征,深得古意。五代巨然、北宋徽宗、范宽、元代赵孟頫、朱德润等均有相关主题的画作传世。文人雅士 “高山流水遇知音” 的典故在此呼之欲出。

郭熙《早春图》| Early Spring, by GUO Xi (1020 – 1090)

美国专家约翰•赛里斯(Prof. John Sallis)在他的著作《感悟山水》中对郭熙的《早春图》有这样的评述:

「动态的力量由山的呈现方式显示出来。 底座上的两块巨石,特别是上面的巨石,形成了山的一部分,看起来好像是在扭曲,转向,变形; 也就是说,它们的外观是虚拟的运动,含有内在动力。 ……山的整体造型是延伸的S型; 山不仅呈现出龙的形状(象征着皇帝),而且,由于这个造型注入了动态的力量,山体看上去几乎是在旋转之中。」

王世贞曾说:“文人画起自东坡,至松雪敞开大门。”

赵孟頫,号松雪道人,元代文人画的创始人物,竭力倡导复古,提出 “作画贵有古意”,强调绘画的写意性和书法用笔,以画寄意。“不假丹青笔,何以写远愁”。为绘画注入浓郁的文人气质和韵味。

赵孟頫《洞庭东山图》,北京故宫博物院藏 | ZHAO Meng-Fu, Lake Taihu and Eastern Mountains, Palace Museum

董其昌说:“读万卷书,行万里路,胸中脱去尘浊,自然丘壑内营,成立鄞鄂,随手写来,皆为山水传神。”

春山瑞松圖 宋·米芾 台北故宮博物院藏 | MI Fu, Northern Song Dynasty, Spring Mountains & Pine Trees

元代文人画的非凡之处来源于创作者深厚的文化艺术修养和丰富的人生阅历。赵孟頫倡导的元代复古主义绘画广采南北绘画之长以复兴中原绘画传统,技法多师于董源、巨然和李成、郭熙等。

“到处云山是我师”,元代文人画师法自然,画风淋漓酣畅,不拘法度,直抒胸臆,正所谓画由心生。写胸中逸气,超然脱俗,出神入化。技法上虚实相生,无画处皆成妙境。画面清逸淡泊,潇洒简远,清澄纯净。

赵孟頫和深受他影响的一批元代文人画家多集中在江南一带,作品多描绘家乡太湖地区秀丽清幽的湖光山色。高逸的士夫气韵,清逸的文人格调,形成了元代开创性的抒情山水演变。诗意化、书法化代表着元代隐逸山水文人画的时代特征。

元 倪瓒 松亭山色图 | NI Zan, Yuan Dynasty, Pine Pavilion with Mountain View

倪瓒,字元镇,元四家之一,擅长采用一水两岸式来描绘太湖景色。画面疏林坡岸,笔简意远,惜墨如金,开元代逸笔先路。 王世贞在《艺苑卮言》里说:“元镇极简雅,似嫩而苍。宋人易摹,元人难摹;元人犹可学,独元镇不可学也。” 倪瓒《答张藻仲书》云:“仆之所谓画者,不过逸笔草草,不求形似,聊以自娱耳。” 倪瓒的画画面简洁,中景大片留白,意为湖水,整个画面恬静疏旷,意境荒寒空寂。空白即画也,重虚留白是元代文人画的一大明显的时代特征。

王蒙,湖州人,元四家中最年轻者,赵孟頫的外孙,自小从师于赵孟頫。 王蒙的代表作《青卞隐居图》画的是家乡浙江湖州的卞山。董其昌曾泊舟山下,叹曰王蒙 “能为此山传神写照”, 并称之为“天下第一”。王蒙笔下的卞山层峦叠章碧山青,山峰巍峨陡峭,峰峦耸秀,气势磅礴。“之” 字形山体构图凸显山势动感,深得董源、郭熙笔意。

王蒙 青卞隐居图 | WANG Meng, Green Bian Mountain Hideaway

四、青箬笠,绿蓑衣,斜风细雨不须归 – 谈渔父的人生智慧

此青花碗外壁一周绘有两幅对应的渔父图,描绘江南山重水复的迤逦风光和渔父垂钓情景。此图取景类似于吴镇《渔父图》中描绘的江南水乡泽国。两株青松栉风沐雨,屹立山巅,一株古松斜逸而出,几间房屋掩映在苍松之间。远处群山远岫,相拥而卧,绵延起伏,几座峰峦秀起云雾中,若隐若现。中间大片留白,有一俩洲渚,表现的是烟波浩淼,一望无际,意境旷远。 山脚下一叶小舟闲泊湖泽,一渔夫头戴草笠,一手扶桨,一手执竿,专注垂钓。

元青花山水瓷碗 | Yuan Dynasty Blue and White Porcelain Ware

王逸《楚辞章句》云:“渔父避世隐身,钓鱼江滨,欣然自乐。”

渔父的起源可以追溯到战国时期的《楚辞》和《庄子》。楚辞《渔父》中的屈原坚持 “举世皆浊我独清,众人皆醉我独醒。” 而渔父则认为 “圣人不凝滞于物,而能与世推移。世人皆浊,何不淈其泥而扬其波?众人皆醉,何不餔其糟而歠其酾?” 渔父高歌:“沧浪之水清兮,可以濯吾缨;沧浪之水浊兮,可以濯吾足。”

唐代诗人张志和,号玄真子,《新唐书·隐逸传·张志和》载张志和:“居江湖,自称烟波钓徒。” 张志和在湖州西塞山渔隐期间写下了著名的《渔歌子》(《渔父词》):

西塞山前白鹭飞,桃花流水鳜鱼肥。青箬笠,绿蓑衣,斜风细雨不须归。

唐朝著名政治家、诗人、书法家颜真卿曾和张志和《渔父词》:

白头垂钓碧江深,忆得前身是姓任。随去住,任浮沉,鱼少鱼多不用心。

这里的 “任公子” 来自《庄子》。渔父和渔隐已演化成为道家思想的化身。

赵孟頫《江村渔乐图》,美国克利夫兰艺术博物馆藏 | ZHAO Meng-Fu, Happy Fishermen of the River Village, Cleveland Museum of Art

赵孟頫曾作《渔父词》:

渺渺烟波一叶舟,西风落木五湖秋。盟鸥鹭,傲王侯,管甚鲈鱼不上钩。
侬往东吴震泽州,烟波日日钓鱼舟。山似翠,酒如油,醉眼看山百自由。

管道昇 (赵孟頫夫人) 亦曾作《渔父词》:

人生贵极是王侯,浮利浮名不自由。争得似,一扁舟,弄月吟风归去休。

元代渔父文化之发达与元代社会背景紧密相关。科举废止,济世无门的元代文人遂遁迹江湖,复古和隐逸成为元一代文人画永恒持久的话题,产生了大量的孤舟蓑笠翁形象的渔父诗歌绘画和戏曲。

宫天挺,字大用,元代著名杂剧作家。宫天挺作《严子陵垂钓七里滩》,又称《严子陵钓鱼台》剧,文字雄劲遒丽,《太和正音谱》称其作品 “锋颖犀利,神采烨然,若健翮摩空,下视林薮,使狐兔缩颈于蓬棘之势”。该剧讲述的是汉代严子陵鄙弃功名,隐居富阳,垂钓于富春山畔七里滩的历史故事。严子陵曾在危难中解救过汉光武,光武为帝后召严子陵为官,严子陵却仍选择在七里滩垂钓生活,乐得悠闲自得。剧中有这样几句唱词:“〔调笑令〕巴到日暮春,天隅见隐隐残霞三百缕。钓的这锦鳞来,满向篮中贮。正是收纶钓渔父,那的是江上晚来堪画处,抖擞绿蓑烟去。”

元四家之一的吴镇,号梅花道人,以渔父题材诗画著称于世。吴镇的渔父图诗书画一体,令人回味。吴镇的《仿荆浩渔父图》题有《渔父词》十六首。跋云:“余昔喜关仝山水清劲可爱,原其所以出于荆浩笔法,后见荆浩画,唐人渔父图有如此之制作,遂仿而为一轴。”

《渔父图轴》上题有一首渔父词:

西风潇潇下木叶,江上青山愁万叠。
长年悠优乐竿线,蓑笠几番风雨歇。
渔童鼓枻忘西东,放歌荡漾芦花风。
玉壶声长曲未终,举头明月磨青铜。
夜深船尾鱼拨剌,云散天空烟水阔。

《江村渔乐图》自题诗云:

青山窅窅攒修眉,下浸万顷青玻璃。
斜风细雨蓑笠古,茅屋两两枫林低。
扁舟欲留去还止,水心扑鹿惊鸥起。
渔兮渔兮不汝期,渔中之乐那能知。
此渔此景定何处,长啸一声出门去。

《渔父图》正中有草书“渔父辞”一首:

目断烟波青有无,霜凋枫叶锦模糊。千尺浪,四鳃鲈,诗筒相对酒葫芦。

梅道人的渔父生活真可谓潇洒无拘,悠闲自在,恬静淡泊,野逸清高。达到了心无旁骛,天人合一的理想境界。

五、元朱文,圆朱文 – 高雅的元代篆刻印

此件元青花山水大碗碗底落款为青花单框篆字款 “青” 字。这件青花瓷书写的青字,有元代始创的青花釉下彩钴料苏麻离青青翠浓艳的含义,同时也一语双关的点明了碗内外绘制的两幅青花山水画的青字主题 – 青松、青山、青波等。

这种不常见的落款方式与元朱文印极为类似。元朱文印是元代赵孟頫引导兴起的篆刻艺术。赵孟頫亲笔篆写印文,交由印工制作完成印章,其形态优美,风格典雅,笔势圆转流畅,章法布白匀称稳妥,婉丽娟秀中透出高贵雅静的气质。

元朱文特点是笔画圆润无方折,单个字多为方形等。每个字的折笔处必为圆笔,又称“圆朱文”。

赵孟頫,号松雪道人,湖州人,宋太祖赵匡胤十一世孙,诗书画无一不精。

元代书法名家鲜于枢云:“子昂篆、隶、真、行、颠草为当今第一。”

赵孟頫与夫人管道昇同以江南高僧中峰明本和尚禅师为师,明本禅师曾在湖州卞山结庵。赵孟頫与明本的手札颇多,亲笔行书写过明本的禅诗 “青山诗” 和 “白云诗”。

赵孟頫行书《青山吟》| ZHAO Meng-Fu, Calligraphy, Green Mountain Poem

明本禅师与赵孟頫一家渊源颇深,赵孟頫之子赵雍亦精书画,曾楷书写明本的《青山诗册》,题跋云:“仲穆禀承家学,深得泰和三昧,顾其真迹,世不多见,此《青山诗》,亦凤毛麟角也。”

赵孟頫外孙王蒙亦有诗云:“我于白云中,未尝忘青山。”

“青山诗” 里的青山应指的是王蒙所绘的《青卞隐居图》中的湖州卞山。

我爱青山青,千仞如泼淀。
丈夫何事翳双眸。不识青山常觌面,青山不高还不低。青山不禁行人归。
自从缚屋青山顶,几见青山苍落晖。青山对客忘宾主,客对青山默无语。
喧空瀑韵杂松涛,惊起铁牛骑石虎。道人不管伸脚眠,青山倒卓双眉尖。
不拨万象体独露,释迦醉倒春风前。
有问此山青来是几载?古人何缘尽把黄金买?
黄金有日化蓬尘,唯有青山无变改。
寄言四海住山翁,莫只管向虚空画五彩。

这次第,怎一个 “青” 字了得?明本禅师诙谐幽默的 “青山诗” 流露出的禅境如此令人陶醉,有道是:“心外无法,满目青山。”

赵孟頫《人骑图》| ZHAO Meng-Fu, Gentleman on Horseback

赵孟頫在其大作《人骑图》中书题 “画固难,识画尤难。世有识者,许渠具眼。” 五百年后,乾隆题跋,连称:“神骏图难识,识矣。”

这件元青花碗内涵丰富,渊源流长,识矣?

 

后记

最近一位美国客户拿来几件中国古董给我看,都是二十世纪初的收藏品。

经过深入研究,我认为这是一件罕见的、迄今为止世界上发现的唯一一件元青花山水瓷,有极高的历史和艺术价值。这将为研究元青花和元代文人画提供不可多得的宝贵资料。

上文是我从诗歌、绘画、审美、哲学和工艺角度全方位对这件元青花山水瓷时代特征的分析点评。

无论是丝绸还是宣纸上的画作都有令人遗憾的保存时间限制,而这件绘制在瓷器上的元代文人画可以保存至永远。

有意申请授权展出的博物馆请与我联系。

Tiffany M. Wang
电子邮箱: info@BeyondDelish.com