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Collection of Four Paintings Inspired by Odes of Yong
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Why this is a

These four paintings pursue a simple approach on their structure and have a consistent style. With the ingenious and unique capture of scenes, the paintings show great detail in close-up items and leave much imagination to the viewer in long-range landscapes. Elegant and refined, with mellow and full brushstrokes, the four works of art uses the Book of Songs to convey the author’s frame of mind. Using a special method named “leech strokes” to draw ceases of cloth, the poetic side is exposed. One can try to imitate the subtle and delicate style, but to no avail: this is truly a rare jewel in South Song art. This collection is one of many from the series on the Book of Songs. The four paintings reflect the songs BOZHOU, QIANG YOU CI, SANG ZHONG and CHUN ZHI BEN EBN from the ten song collection Mao Poems: Odes of Yong. Each work has a caption written in “xiaoli” font. On the title page of the collection Zhang Ying of the Qing Dynasty penned a poem for Liang Qingbiao. At the back comments were made by Zhang Ying in September 14th, 1677.

History of the Object
The creation of Ma Hezhi’s Paintings of the Book of Songs lasted for the reign of two emperors, Gaozong and Xiaozong. According to Hui Shi Bei Kao (Painting Notes), “His Royal Highness Gaozong gave Imperial orders for the making and collection of paintings on the 300 Mao Poems, but this was not accomplished before his death.” Later Emperor Xiaozong continued with this legacy and ordered artists to finish the task. After Ma Hezhi’s collection imitations and copies appeared, 16 of which survived to this day. Each boasting different styles, the originals, copies and imitations are easy to tell apart. Mr. Xu Bangda wrote in his New Insight into Ma Hezhi’s Mao Poem Paintings and Zhao Gou’s Calligraphy that the collection of four paintings from Odes of Yong is “as far as I have seen, one of the 19 collections of 14 styles of this type from the Song era.” He also commented that “these paintings were judged to be Ming Dynasty copies by the First Edition of Shi Qu Bao Ji; that is why it did not make it into textbooks. Yet I believe this is indeed a piece from the Song Dynasty.” This fabulous work was collected by Yang Shiqi and Xiang Yuanbian of the Ming Dynasty, Liang Qingbiao of the Qing Dynasty, and was later transferred to the Qing government, where it was kept in the Yangxin Palace. Many Imperial seals including those of Emperor Qianlong, Jiaqing and Xuantong are on the painting, and it is recorded in the 5th book of the First Edition of Shi Qu Bao Ji.

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Width 27.6 cm. Length 276.4 cm.  
Creator name
Ma Hezhi 
Creator date
South Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279) 
Where it was made
Time period
AD 12th century ~ AD 13th century 
Creation date
12th Century - 13th Century; Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) 
The Museum of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Nanning 
The Museum of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Nanning 
The Museum of Guang Xi Zhuang Autonomous Region 
Credit line
The Museum of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Nanning 
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