Treasure Found at the Antique Shop

Original calligraphic work by Pu Xin-Yu (浦心畬) 1896-1963

April 18th, 20104:13 am @ | 4,655 views


I only got time to snap half of this amazing calligraphic work by Pu Xin-Yu 1896-1963 (浦心畬)

We visited Tainan for the second time, the purpose of the trip was to assist artist Tsai Yu with a photographic project, she wanted to have a selection of her antique collection professionally photographed. We arrived in her antique shop in the afternoon, and started to setup a corner as a temporary photographic booth. While busy settling things up, 4 man came in to the shop, wanting to see a special calligraphic piece. This particular piece does not look anything special, the work was framed in a cheap frame, to the point of rotting.

Original calligraphic work by Pu Xin-Yu (浦心畬) 1896-1963 was the high light of the day. I did not know who Pu Xin-Yu was, but after some googling I come to realize that he was the absolute monarch of China; a decedent of the emperor in the Chin Dynasty, and candidate for the crown, a good thing that he did not succeed, or he would have become the last last emperor of China… (there is a movie made called ‘The Last Emperor’, won 9 Oscars) instead, he became one of the greatest Chinese calligraphers of all time! More on Pu Xin-Yu here (in Chinese)

After some heavy bargaining, this piece along with two other Taiwanese Chinese paintings were sold for $200,000 Taiwan dollars. The original price was $380,000 Taiwan dollars, the huge price reduction was due to the fact that the purchaser did not know the artist of the other 2 works, but the 3 pieces of works had to be sold together.

The guy requested the 3 pieces of works to be taken out of its frames, and I assisted. When I pulled open the thin ply-wood at the back, there were a few bugs running around, luckily the work was not damaged, one edge was slightly chewed away, but it did not effect the value of the work.

It was a pity that I didn’t get the opportunity to take a full picture of the calligraphic work, as it was soon rolled up by the purchaser in newspaper and rubber band.

The photo below shows one of the other 2 pieces of works by the Taiwanese painter. I was told this painter is also famous in Taiwan, but unknown in China.

This is one of the other 2 pieces of works by a famous Taiwanese painter

The antique purchaser was quite happy with the purchase, and requested to see more, so Tsai Yu brought them to another antique collector, to show him some more. This other antique collector’s name is Mr. Kuo, a very nice guy, greets us with a big smile and made us very nice Chinese green tea.

Below you see there are 2 ceramic works, the small piece is priced at $520,000, and the larger piece for $300,000, both had cracks in them. The purchaser was quite keen, the imperfection was the only hold back. I do not know much of these 2 pieces, but it was an eye opener, seeing an item small as this, cracked, to be worth so much money! The truth is, if I had seen them in the flea market, I wouldn’t have picked them up for $2, but now I know I will need to keep my eyes wide open, ears clear when I visit the flea market, as you never know a treasure could just be found?