Zhang Daqian dare not draw a tiger? Qi Baishi painted tigers as "sick cats"? Why is it still sold for a high price of 28 million?

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The theme of tiger is indispensable in Chinese painting. Ancient painters were very obsessed with the theme of painting dragons and tigers, so there are idioms such as "the finishing touch", and there is also the legend of Wu Daozi's stone bridge painting tiger town bandits.

People both revere and admire tigers. They like to draw tigers, because they like the spirit of tigers, and it is a form of sustenance for the pursuit of glory and authority.  It became the object of literati painting love.

There are many tiger painters in the history of traditional art, but among the top masters of modern and modern painting, there are few masters who are famous for painting tigers. Everyone knows Zhang Daqian, Qi Baishi and Xu Beihong. None of them are 

famous for painting tigers.  Moreover, there is even a jingle about drawing tigers circulating in contemporary times: Zhang Daqian dare not paint, Qi Baishi can't.

If you go to check the history of Zhang Daqian's works, you will know that he actually painted tigers, but the tiger pictures he painted are too rare, and it is difficult to find an authentic work that really came from his hands.

Zhang Daqian

Although Qi Baishi also left a tiger picture, it is also very rare, and there are only a few authentic tiger pictures that can be found.

Is it so difficult to draw a tiger?  Zhang Qi, two famous masters, rarely have tiger pictures circulated in the world. Does this Daqian really dare not draw tigers?  Could it be that Qi Baishi really doesn't know how to draw tigers?  Open the auction yearbook of modern paintings, you can find a record of a large thousand tigers, a "Tiger Down the Mountain" made in 1947 sold for 1.09 million.

Zhang Daqian

Since there is a picture of Zhang Daqian's tiger circulating in the market, why does it say that he dare not draw a tiger?  Looking at the auction yearbook, you can find that there are many tiger pictures signed by Zhang Daqian.  However, these tiger pictures were 

not drawn by him independently, and the tigers in them were not created by his brush and ink, but were created together with a person named Zhang Shanma.  The tiger in it was painted by this Zhang Shanmao.

It turned out that Zhang Shanmao was Zhang Daqian's brother. Both brothers lived by painting at the time. Zhang Daqian's painting road was very wide and there was almost nothing he couldn't paint, while Zhang Shanmao strove to paint tigers.

Zhang Daqian and his wife

Later, Zhang Daqian's painting name gradually surpassed his elder brother's, and people came to him for paintings in an endless stream, while Zhang Shanma was left out in the cold, and could only support by selling a few tiger paintings sporadically.

Once the two brothers met a painting seeker at a party.  The painter asked for a picture of a tiger to be collected, and asked Zhang Daqian to paint by name.  Zhang Shanma, who was on the side, was very embarrassed, because painting tigers was his specialty, but the other party still wanted his younger brother to paint because his younger brother was more famous than himself.

Yinhu figure

As Zhang Daqian drank a lot, he agreed when he was full of wine, but ignored his brother's feelings on the side.  After that, fewer people wanted Zhang Shanma's tiger pictures, because it was rumored that Zhang Daqian's tigers were better than his brother's. Zhang Daqian knew this and regretted it. Isn't this the end of his brother's life?

So he stopped painting tigers from this point on, and the outside world slowly began to rumors that Zhang Daqian couldn't draw good tiger pictures, so he didn't dare to paint tigers in order to avoid stinking his painting name!

How did they know that Zhang Daqian didn't dare to paint because he was afraid that his brother's future in painting tigers would be cut off!



Qi Baishi

So how did Qi Baishi's reputation for not being able to draw tigers come from?  Qi Baishi left more tiger pictures than Zhang Daqian, but only two or three were circulated in the collection circle.

Among them, the most famous tiger picture is "Howling Tiger", which sold for more than 30 million yuan ten years ago, and the "Crouching Tiger Picture" collected in the Forbidden City in 1957.

The two tiger pictures are not particularly valuable because they are collected by the Forbidden City, or famous because of their sky-high prices, but mainly because they have a strange feature in common - they do not have tiger faces.

Picture of Qi Baishi's tiger

If you go to Qi Baishi's auction yearbook, you will find that no matter if it is genuine or fake, the tiger pictures signed by Qi Baishi do not have tiger faces, and without exception, these tigers are almost all painted as "sick cats" or lying  Or lying posture, so he painted two of the most famous tiger pictures are like "sick cat".

As a result, people came to the conclusion that this master of painting has never seen a real tiger, and as soon as he painted a tiger, he painted it like a "sick cat", so Qi Baishi would never paint a tiger at all!

How much is Qi Baishi's most expensive "Tiger Map" worth?  It is this "Tiger Picture" that looks like a "sick cat", which sold for a high price of 28 million!

Qi Baishi's painting of a tiger as a "sick cat" is not the only one. Most of his few tiger-themed paintings are in the style of "painting a tiger according to the cat".

Drawing like a "sick cat" is also a feature of Qi Baishi's paintings of tigers. If he draws a majestic and murderous tiger picture" and the signature is Qi Baishi, it must be a fake painting.

28 million picture of Qi Baishi tiger

In fact, it is not Qi Baishi's patent to paint a mighty tiger as a sick cat and a cute cat. In the Qing Dynasty, there was also a painter named Hua Yan who specialized in painting "sick cats".  Bad luck.

However, Hua Yan's paintings can be considered cultural relics after being circulated for hundreds of years. However, it has only been decades since Qi Baishi painted tigers as "sick cats".  ?

Huayan Tiger

In 2010, after this Chinese painting was auctioned and hit a sky-high price of 28 million, it once aroused doubts in the art world, believing that such a high-level tiger painting was fired for a sky-high price, which was a disgrace to the word "art".

But then experts who supported the auction results wrote art reviews for the Chinese painting, interpreted the value of the tiger painting like a sick cat, and affirmed the value of 28 million.

Experts commented that Qi Baishi's tiger picture has deliberate changes in shape.  Although the back is turned to the audience, it can be seen that the tiger in the painting is sturdy, and there is nothing wrong with the posture that is common in cats.

So the tiger in the painting is not a "sick cat", it is just preparing to crawl before poaching.  But the most powerful and valuable artistic expression of this painting is not here, but to focus on the tiger's tail!

After zooming in five times, you can see that the tiger's tail is curved in an S shape, and the tail tip is perfectly "hooked back", so that the empty right frame of the painting can echo the tiger head and inscription on the left frame, and the whole painting is balanced and stable.  Equilibrium trend.

Due to the avoidance of the natural "evil spirit" of the tiger in the shape, and the balanced and gentle composition, this tiger picture no longer has the fierceness and fierceness, but has a cute and innocent interest, which is why it is painted as "sickness"  The tiger picture of "Cat" has become the most expensive tiger picture in the history of art.

No one thought that this painting would become so artistically valuable because of the tiger's tail.  After listening to the expert's analysis and looking at the tiger painting by Qi Baishi, it seems that you will understand where the art is so brilliant.

Is it because we are not artistic enough to appreciate, or is Qi Baishi's tiger tail painting too clever?    

 In addition to painting such an interesting "sick cat" tiger picture, Qi Baishi also left many interesting paintings and interesting stories in his life.    

"Interesting" seems to be the soul of Qi Baishi's works!

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