The most expensive Chinese painting of the Yuan Dynasty in the history of Chinese auctions, the price is 400 million! But few people know what touching stories are hidden behind the Chinese paintings?

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What kind of Chinese painting is it? Four hundred million!


With his exquisite brushwork and legendary life experience, after 800 years of twists and turns in history, once it appeared in people's field of vision, 

it became the most expensive ancient painting in the history of Chinese auction without any suspense.  400 million is normal in the eyes of people in the industry, but the average person sees this number as weird.

"Immigration to Zhichuan" partial display of the animated diagram

There are not many surviving Yuan Dynasty calligraphy and paintings. This one was painted by Wang Meng, one of the "Four Schools of the Yuan Dynasty". How can it not be expensive to get the true biography of Zhao Mengfu, his grandfather? 

Yuan Dynasty "Wang Meng"
"Immigration to Zhichuan" sold for 402.5 million

The ancient painting and calligraphy appraisal expert described the "Immigration to Zhichuan Picture" in the appraisal diary, "The painting is extremely fine, exciting, and exciting!" This painting is the top work of an out-and-out top figure.

Wang Meng’s painting is based on moving. You probably can’t imagine that moving is a painting that can sell for 400 million.  

Moreover, Wang Meng was so obsessed with this subject that he drew 7 paintings on the theme of moving in one go, 2 of which were in China, and the other 5 were lost overseas.


Who is the moving family in the painting?

Let us first understand the composition of the entire painting "Immigrating to Zhichuan":

"Immigrating to Zhichuan" depicts the story of Ge Hong from the Eastern Jin Dynasty who moved to Luofu Mountain with his family and practiced Taoism and alchemy.  

Luofu Mountain is located in Boluo County, Guangdong Province today.  Ge Hong riding on the back of the cow in the painting is a Taoist teacher and a famous alchemist in the Eastern Jin Dynasty.  

I saw him wearing a Taoist robe, his expression focused on the scroll in his hand, watching as he walked, completely ignoring his family with him.

Ge Hong holding a picture scroll and his wife taking care of the children

In the picture above, behind him, his wife and several children are riding on the back of the cow, the small child is held in his arms, and the older one is sitting behind him.  

There were also several servants who moved with Ge Hong and his wife. They either carried chicken coops, or cattle and sheep, or carried heavy burdens, and carried the necessities of the family's life to the mountains.

Some people who moved

Along the way, there are high mountains, waterfalls and springs. Several thatched houses are hidden in the mountains. In the courtyard in front of the house, the servants who arrive first are cleaning the courtyard and waiting for the arrival of the master. The picture is very contagious.    

The whole painting uses burnt ink with light ochre.  The peaks and mountains are overlapping, the pavilions are jagged, the whole picture is vivid and delicate, and the pen and ink is heavy, 

which is worthy of Wang Meng's mature masterpiece.  In the blank space above the scroll, Wang Meng's inscription and poems by seven heavyweights can be seen faintly:


Korean style poem

Poems inscribed by Le Yuan

Tao Fu's first poem



 Poems inscribed by Ni Zan


Poems inscribed by Lu Juren


Poems inscribed by Qian Yue section


Poem by Chen Zequan

The most expensive emigration in history, there is a secret behind it!


Ge Hong

This migration of Ge Hong's family is the most expensive in history!  Why did he move?  Why does this trivial thing of moving survive the ages?  On this point, there is a story that is talked about by the world.

It is said that the people in the painting, Ge Hongzu, are all prominent high-ranking officials.  Ge Hong was named "General Fubo" for his meritorious service on the battlefield, and was promoted many times since then.  Facing the pride of the officialdom, 

Ge Hong was very calm in his heart. In the dim politics and social turmoil, all the glory and wealth are nothing, so he sees through the world and devotes himself to cultivating the Tao. 

This is another version of "Ge Zhichuan Immigration Map" in the collection of the Palace Museum in Beijing, also by Wang Meng. The deer in the painting is Ge Hong.

When the court once again promoted him, he declined and asked to go to Guangxi to be a famous county magistrate, hoping to spend the rest of his life in that nearby dansha alchemy.  

After getting permission from the emperor, Ge Hong moved with his family.  When he walked to Guangdong, he was retained by local officials and lived in seclusion in Luofu Mountain to practice alchemy.  

In the end, Ge Hong was old and dead in the mountains, and later generations said that he became a fairy.

Coincidentally, Wang Meng’s life experience is very similar to Ge Hong. He had been an official, but due to social turmoil and weak government, he had the idea of ​​retreat. 

So he regarded Ge Hong as his spiritual sustenance and soul idol, and wanted to be an idol.  Such an expert from outside the world painted this secluded landscape painting.

Chinese painter Wang Meng

From the perspective of layout, Wang Meng's moving Chinese paintings often use heavy mountains and ridges, with lingering body posture, high mountains, dense forests, deep valleys, and a magnificent and majestic atmosphere.  

Wang Meng's landscape uses the medium of highlighting the majestic life force of the natural world, and tortuously conveys the painter's dissatisfaction and unwilling sentiment towards the muddy world.

After Wang Meng created these paintings alluding to the ideal of seclusion, due to the social unrest, he followed Ge Hong to live in Huanghe Mountain in Yuhang, Zhejiang.  

"Picture of Ge Zhichuan Migrating" Part of the Collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing

Therefore, Wang Meng painted Ge Hong, but he was actually himself, and Ge Hong’s high morale was also a true portrayal of his own heart.

After the end of the Yuan Dynasty and the establishment of the Ming Dynasty, Wang Meng, who was over sixty years old, came out again and became the Tai'an Zhizhou.  

Later, he was arrested and died in prison because he had contacts with officials who conspired to rebel.  After Wang Meng's death, this painting experienced ups and downs. 

It was once collected by Suzhou Guoyunlou, a well-known collector in the history of the Republic of China in the late Qing Dynasty, and regarded it as a treasure.

Although I met nobles, but in troubled times, he suffered repeated disasters.  In 1937, the Japanese bombed Suzhou, and the Gu family was not spared.  

Most of the collection was turned into ashes, and the "Immigration to Zhichuan Map" was hidden because it was hidden, so it escaped.  

 "Picture of Ge Zhichuan Migrating" Part of the Collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing

After that, the descendants of the Gu family moved the "Zhichuan Immigration Picture" and other collections to the Shanghai concession overnight.

Later, Gu's family was ransacked, and a large number of paintings and calligraphy were confiscated. "The Picture of Immigrating to Zhichuan" is one of them.  

It is said that after the "Picture of Immigrating to Zhichuan" was robbed, a descendant of Gu's family thought that he would never lose this picture. In extreme despair, he jumped into the icy Suzhou River.

In 1977, experts in ancient Chinese painting and calligraphy went to the Suzhou Museum to identify a batch of paintings and calligraphy confiscated in a "special period" and found this painting.  

Later, due to the personal intervention of the country's top leader at that time, the original immigrant drawing that had been applied to be kept in the Shanghai Museum was returned to the original owner and returned to the Gu family.

Wang Meng has never been to Luofu Mountain in his life. These two paintings were created by combining the story of Ge Hong's move with the imagery landscape.  The lush greenery and luxuriant foliage in the Lingnan area appear on paper.


A rough look is a character, a closer look is a landscape

It is also the subject of Ge Hong's moving house. If it is placed on a friend who pays attention to realism, it may portray the exhaustion of a long journey or the enjoyment of settling in a thatched hut.   

But the ingenious Wang Meng painted this dynamic process of emigration. At first glance, Ge Zhichuan moved with a group of people. Upon closer inspection, his eyes stretched out as if he were in the mountains and rivers. The huts, mountainsides, and people in front of the house looked humane. 

"Map of Immigrating to Zhichuan" sold for 402.5 million Partial

Unlike the Song Dynasty landscape paintings that deliberately highlight the main peak, Wang Meng emphasized the overall momentum of the many mountain shapes, which is typical of his paintings.  He used ink, blue, ocher (zhě, reddish brown) and other colors repeatedly to render the pen and ink thick and contagious.

Ge Zhichuan Migration Picture" Collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing Part

The "Ge Zhichuan Migration Picture" in the Forbidden City has a variety of colors, changing from his usual freehand or part-time writing. The leaves are filled with double hooks, the branches are drawn in detail, the mountains and rocks are drawn with small pens, and the cliffs are cut with an axe.  

The methods of scraping, scraping iron, folding belts, etc., embodies the principle of literati in Yuan Dynasty who used calligraphy as painting, and Wang Meng's calligraphy runs through the process of technique.

In Wang Meng's paintings, there is an old man holding a scroll in his hand.  After creating these paintings that concealed his ideals, due to social turmoil, he imitated Ge Hong and went to live in Huanghe Mountain in Yuhang, Zhejiang.


Why is it worth 400 million to become the most expensive ancient painting?

Generally speaking, the life span of ancient Chinese calligraphy and painting is only about one thousand years at most, and this well-preserved Yuan Dynasty painting with a history of nearly 800 years is even more precious.  

The paintings and calligraphy of the Yuan Dynasty that can still be seen today have either become the treasures of major museums and museums, or they are not easily sold by private collections and are hard to find, so they are treasures that money is difficult to measure.

More importantly, Wang Meng, one of the "Four Schools of Yuan Dynasty", the author of this painting, can be described as the peak figure of landscape painting.  He is the nephew of the great calligrapher Zhao Mengfu. 

His landscape paintings were directly influenced by Zhao Mengfu in his early years.  After learning from Wang Wei, Dong Yuan, Julan and others, they created a unique "complex line and dense point" painting style. 

"Immigration to Zhichuan" is Wang Meng's mature work with deep personal artistic characteristics, and it is also the most important authentic work that is still in the folk and extremely rare so far, so this painting is an uncompromising top level of top figures.  Made.

What's more important is that although this painting is a landscape, it also shows a kind of leisurely retreat and a story of high style.  

So time is rare, painter is rare, story is rare, these three "rare things", even if they did not contribute to the astronomical price of 400 million yuan for this painting, they must be well-deserved treasures of the country!

Although Wang Meng moved to Huanghe Mountain, he did not live a life of idle clouds and wild cranes. He had accepted Zhang Shicheng's invitation to take up an official position. 

Within a few years, Zhang Shicheng was captured by Zhu Yuanzhang, and Wang Meng was forced to live in the mountains again.  According to legend, Wang Meng lived in seclusion in the mountains and eventually became immortal. 

So far, the story behind the ancient Yuan Dynasty Wang Meng's masterpiece has finally come to a successful conclusion!

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