A Tianhuang Stone Carved "Lion" Seal by Chen Julai

1 month ago

Lot No. :HRCS-CJL-211208
Artist:Chen Julai (1*) (1904-1952)
Feature:A stone seals, Tianhuang stone(2*).
Source:Private collection
1* Chen Julai (1904-1984), a native of Zhejiang, lives in Shanghai, and is a Chinese seal carver, calligrapher, painter, poet, and expert on the history of the Republic of China. He was a painter at Shanghai Chinese Painting Academy, a member of Xiling Yinshe, and a member of Shanghai Calligraphy and Seal Cutting Research Association. Chen's seal carving art is well-known in Southeast Asia, and his works have been cherished by many collectors. His seal carving was hailed as "the first person in three hundred years." His works include "Memories of Anchi Characters" and "Seal of Anchi Abode".
2* "Tianhuang" is the name of a kind of stone regarded as the most valuable of all stone sculpture materials in China. For this reason there are suggestions that tianhuang be designated as the "king of stones" of China. In bygone days one ounce of tianhuang was worth one ounce of gold; today it has become even more precious. In autumn 1996, the Beijing Hanhai Company put a mid-Qing 460-gram tianhuang seal carved with a dragon-shaped top for auction at an offering price of 300,000 - 50,000 yuan, but the deal was clinched at a whopping 1.4 million yuan, an all-time high worldwide concerning the tianhuan stone.
Tianhuang is produced in the mountains by the Shoushan Stream in the northern suburbs of Fuzhou, capital of Fujian Province. In remote antiquity, cracked stone fell off the mountain and settled in a layer of sand that lay below paddy fields by the Shoushan Stream, and was gradually turned into a kind of sedimental sandy ore that is called tianhuang (which literally means "field and yellow") because of its yellowish colour and because it was mined from underneath paddy fields. Mixed with tianhuang are also stones red, white, black and grey in colour, which are consequently known as hongtian, baitian, heitian and huitian. After many centuries of constant mining, these stones are virtually in non-existence. With a crystal and moist texture, tianhuang is regarded as the best material available for the carving of seals, a Chinese obsession.


For more information, visit The Hongru Private Art Museum