Shitao's Poems, Calligraphy and Landscape estimated at $1.5m

Shitao's Poems, Calligraphy and Landscape is valued at $1m-1.5m ahead of a sale of Chinese art at Sotheby's New York on March 19.

Shitao (1642-1718) was a member of the Ming royal house and was forced to flee his home when Southern China fell to the Manchurians in 1644.

Shitao Chinese art
Shitao was a highly regarded Chinese Qing dynasty painter and calligrapher

He later became a Buddhist monk and is renowned today for his reflective and delicate paintings.

Sotheby's comments: "Shitao applied various shades of dry and moist brushstrokes, an elegantly subtle color palette, and an unconventional composition to express his distinctive personality.

"Most noticeable is his calligraphy that accompanies the landscape paintings.

"His brush strokes may appear to be thin as the leg of a mosquito or thick as the stem of a hair stick; individual characters may resemble a sensible gentleman, or an unruly wild-haired Daoist monk��?

"This is unquestionably a rare masterpiece by Shitao."

Gong Xian's Dwelling in Seclusion Amid Rivers and Mountains could make $600,000-800,000.

Xian (1619-1689) was a key painter of the Nanjing school and, like Shitao, was forced to flee when the Ming dynasty fell.

His inscription on the work reads: "Rivers and mountains all belong to the realm of fishermen and woodcutters; Amongst them are the houses and huts in which recluses dwell. Playing strings and chanting, calling out and singing, after eating and drinking he remarks: 'If one is not a recluse one cannot be a fisherman or woodcutters.'"

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