Liu Dan's Small Ying Stone (2014) is among the highlights of Sotheby's Contemporary Ink Art: Journey auction on October 4 in Hong Kong.
The extraordinarily complex painting is a study of a scholar's rock: stones which are prized in Chinese culture for their unusual shapes.
The inscriptions on the right hand side are excerpts from the Suyuan Stone Catalogue and explain the history of scholar's rocks.
The auction house comments: "The present lot is Liu Dan's first portrait study of a ying stone in his personal collection…
"As an intellectual painter, Liu Dan chooses to portray subjects that seem deceptively simple in form, yet upon further inspection, or realization of physical scale, one is awestruck by the levels and layers of detail that he reveals in his painting."
While ink painting techniques go back thousands of years, an increasing number of artists in China and elsewhere are pushing the form in new and exciting directions.
Sotheby's comments: "Around the world, collectors are increasingly recognizing contemporary ink art as a powerful crossover category that is simultaneously rooted in the rich Chinese painting tradition and reflective of contemporary ideas."
Other highlights include Li Huayi's Pines in Pureland Mist, valued at $425,535-464,220.
The work synthesizes the vast landscapes captured by the artists of the Northern Song era (AD 960-1127) with austere modernism. The result is deeply atmospheric.
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