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Subject:Calligraphy question
Posted By: John R Wed, Oct 17, 2018 IP: 2601:443:c102:2a10:e

This scroll combines two 18th century artists.
Jin Nong and Zheng Xie. The paper that they worked
on appears to be the same "antique" paper. The calligraphy is
in their unique styles. Jin Nong working
in his lacquer script, and Zheng Xie working in a
variation in wild cursive of his own signature
nature based script. I understand that wild cursive has its
own problems in translation,
but I feel that it also an ultimate form of
a Chinese personal expressionistic version of a western "jazz rift". I have found similar works of calligraphy from both
artists, and earlier this year I had an XRF
study done of the elemental content of the seal
paste. The results of that test may help in the
forensic dating of Chinese works of art.

Subject:Re: Calligraphy question
Posted By: I.Nagy Fri, Oct 19, 2018

Before the XRF result on the seal paste arrives,
I deliver you the readings of colophones,
Right side,
金農 - Jin Nóng
金農印信 - Jin Nong yinxin - Official seal of Jin Nong
冬心先生 - Dongxin xiansheng - Master Dongxin (Winter Heart) - Pseudonym
Pictogram seal,
龍虎丁卯 - Longhu dingmao - (Dragon Tiger, Year of Fire-Rabbit) - Leisure seal - Artist was born in the year of Fire-Rabbit (1687)

Jin Nong 金農 1687-1763

Left side,
冬心兄書法之也 - Calligraphy in the style of Donxin Elder Brother
(Dongxin was the pseudonym of Jin Nong)
板橋弟 - Banqiao Younger Brother
(Banqiao was the pseudonym of Zheng Xie)
鄭燮 - Zheng Xie
Upper seal,
克柔 - Keirou - Courtesy name
Lower seal,
鄭燮之印 -Seal of Zheng Xie

Zheng Xie 鄭燮 1693-1765

As of thev above Lishu (Official sript style) and Caoshu (Cursive script style) texts are not really difficult to decipher - maybe time consuming only.

With regards,

Subject:Re: Calligraphy question
Posted By: John R Thu, Oct 25, 2018

Thank you again, I. Nagy. I appreciate your invaluable help.
I will attempt to summarize here some of my research on Chinese seals.
Authenticating seals has been one of my challenges.
Thankfully a database of many thousands of seal images is available online.
I've developed a methodology for studying and comparing seal imprints.
This is a partial list of considerations:
[1] Accurate when compared to primary example.
a] Side by side comparison
b] Digital transparency overlay
c] Deconstructed comparison
[2] Accurate to time or date appropriate for the author or collector
[3] Accurate to location of placement of seals
a] Consistent with other known primary works
b] Seals are placed in proper order of collector history and attitude
[4] Forensic study
a] original seals on an older work should show cracking consistent
with the cracking of the artwork
b] newer seals should fill in some of the previous cracking
c] seal paste composition?...need more XRF results from studies on
primary works for comparison. Hopefully this will be done.
The reason that I employed an XRF test to seal paste came from my
observation of the very different shades of red in a variety seal pastes.
Historically it appeared that Ming Dynasty and earlier seal paste was a
deeper darker red than 18th Century and newer paste.
I hypothesized that this variation in color may be an indicator of the presence of more
mercury in the formula for the older seal paste, and that better processing in later times
had less mercury and more pure vermillion. The historic records of the formula for
the making of seal paste lists only cinnabar as the red colorant. The testing that I had
done told a surprisingly different story. I had XRF tests done on 20 different seal
imprints with dates that claimed to be from the late Northern Sung Dynasty,
through the Twentieth century. The Ming Dynasty and earlier seals that I had tested
showed virtually no cinnabar, but instead iron red was the colorant. I contacted
Tao Li from the Max Planck Institute in Jena, Germany. His forensic studies of
ancient Chinese paper and pigments have been groundbreaking. He replied that
iron red was a common pigment used in older times. T. C. Lai in his 1976 book,
Chinese Seals suggests, that Cinnabar grew in popularity with the switch from
bronze seals to stone seals.
The reason that I tested the seal paste on the Jin Nong-Zheng Xie calligraphy
was the visually complex quality of it. The paste seemed to contain a variety of red
pigments. It was the only paste that I tested that actually contained substantial
amounts of both iron red and cinnabar red. As an antiques dealer, Jin Nong may
have had access to what appears to me to be a very unique formula.
The equipment used for the testing include:
A Celestron 10X to 150X digital microscope, an Epson perfection 750P scanner , and a
Certified technician using a Thermo Scientific xl3t ultra XRF detector.
Images attached :
1] Side by side comparison of the seals from the Jin Nong-Zheng Xie calligraphy
2] Representation of digital transparency overlay
3] Deconstructed comparison of a seal from Wang Gong [late 18th century]
Second set of images
1] High resolution scan of Jin Nong seal paste
2] 150x magnification of Jin Nong seal paste
3] Certified XRF technician testing seals
If anyone is interested, I can share more detailed information.

Subject:Re: Calligraphy question
Posted By: John R Fri, Oct 26, 2018

2nd set of pictures | Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries |