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Fine Chinese Paintings / ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983) Water-Moon Guanyin

ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 1
ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 2
ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 3
ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 4
ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 5
ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 6
ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 7
ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 8
ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 9
ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 10
ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 11
Thumbnail of ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 1
Thumbnail of ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 2
Thumbnail of ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 3
Thumbnail of ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 4
Thumbnail of ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 5
Thumbnail of ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 6
Thumbnail of ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 7
Thumbnail of ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 8
Thumbnail of ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 9
Thumbnail of ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 10
Thumbnail of ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)  Water-Moon Guanyin image 11
Extremely Important Painting by Zhang Daqian from A Private American Collection
美國私人珍藏重要張大千畫作〈臨敦煌西夏水月觀音〉
Lot 164
ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)
Water-Moon Guanyin
28 November 2022, 14:00 HKT
Hong Kong, Admiralty

Sold for HK$10,773,000 inc. premium

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ZHANG DAQIAN (CHANG DAI-CHIEN 1899-1983)

Water-Moon Guanyin
Ink and colour on paper, hanging scroll
Inscribed and signed Zhang Daqian, with three seals of the artist
153 x 77cm (60½ x 30½in)

Footnotes

張大千 臨敦煌水月觀音 設色勾金紙本 立軸

款識:
安西榆林窟西夏水月觀音一軀,蜀郡清信弟子張大千敬橅。

鈐印:張爰印、三千大千、除一切苦

一九九一年十一月二十一日,「血戰古人——張大千六十年回顧展」在美國華盛頓賽克勒美術館(Sackler Gallery)舉行,策展人傅申選取八十七件代表大千不同階段的作品,盡可能忠實呈現畫家各時期的風格演進,回顧了大千先生雄心萬丈、勇猛精進的藝術生涯。在展覽同名的專著中,傅申以默齋藏〈水月觀音〉,作為大千稽古敦煌之例,闡釋畫家在該題材上用功之深,並一再追摹臨寫。傅氏所提及另一版本,即為本幅〈臨敦煌水月觀音〉。本幅工筆描金重彩,作於紙本,上世紀九十年代現身拍場後,睽違近三十年,方再釋出,乃目前僅知張大千傳世四幅臨榆林窟西夏「水月觀音」之一。

一、水月觀音
「水月觀音」,世間所繪觀水中月之觀音,是佛教信仰在中國本土化的產物。「水月」乃釋家中「空」、「虛幻」之譬喻,常出現於佛教經典或高僧、文人的作品中。白居易有詩《畫水月菩薩讚》:「淨綠水上,虛白光中,一睹其像,萬緣皆空。弟子居易,誓心歸依,生生劫劫,長為我師」。

水月觀音畫像肇始於唐代畫家周昉,據張彥遠(815-907)《歷代名畫記》卷十,「(周昉)初效張萱畫,後則小異,頗極風姿。全法衣冠,不近里閭,衣裳勁簡,色彩柔麗,菩薩端嚴,妙創水月之體」。同書卷三,「(西京)勝光寺......塔東南院,周昉畫水月觀自在菩薩掩障,菩薩圓光及竹,並是劉整成色」。至五代、北宋時期,「水月觀音」題材廣為流傳,黃休复《益州名畫錄》記載畫家范瓊、左全,曾作水月觀音像,《宣和畫譜》亦有水月觀音作品的收錄。

二、臨撫敦煌
上述史載典籍中的作品,大多今已不傳,可參照者,敦煌石室牆壁,尚存五代、宋、西夏、元時的水月觀音圖約三十幅。一九四一至四三年,傾慕上古遺蹟的張大千,率門人、子姪親赴路途遙遠、人跡罕至的敦煌莫高窟,潛心面壁臨摹,耗時兩年零七個月。

返蓉途中,大千一行又造訪距敦煌一百七十公里的安西榆林窟。榆林四十餘窟,過半乃宋初統治者瓜沙曹氏開鑿,其家族世代供養,內中壁畫甚多,極為精美,尤一窟西夏時〈水月觀音〉,引得大千歎為觀止,稱讚連連。大千在此安置一個半月,夜以繼日工作,眾人「左手持燈,右手秉筆,不一時輒覺手軟,稍憩繼續為之,工作其苦遠過於千佛洞矣」,且「居所年久失修,毒蠍集聚,同行者數數被蟄,夜眠則蒙头裹被而卧,醒則又闻狼嗥之聲,淒厲慘聞,雖有戒備,尤令人戰慄無已」。儘管臨摹過程充滿艱辛,但是次摹得作品大小合約六十餘幅,連同莫高窟二百七十六幅,共計三百四十餘幅,收穫頗豐。

三、敦煌歸來
一九四三年八月十四日,蘭州三民主義青年團大禮堂舉行了首個「張大千臨撫敦煌壁畫展覽」,包括大千精選由敦煌帶回之二十一幅臨摹作品,其中榆林第一窟〈西夏時水月觀音〉,備受矚目。該作畫於布面,方正構圖,敷色厚重,真實的還原了榆林水月觀音的形象,乃大千最早之臨本,現藏於四川博物院。此次展覽反響熱烈,媒體好評如潮:「前往參觀者擁擠異常」,「各界人士均一致認為此項作品實為張氏近年之傑作」,「均別具風格,觀者無不飽賞眼福而去」。

許是大千對該題材鍾愛有加,又或求購者誠意委託,展覽結束不久,張大千即用畫布繪製了另一本〈水月觀音〉(默齋藏本)。方幅改為條幅,略去童子部分,線條加入金粉鉤勒,富麗堂皇,更適合中堂供養。

一九四五年,四川成都舉行的「張大千畫展」,展出第三本〈水月觀音〉。與前兩版不同,本幅作於紙上。一經問世,便引起轟動,達官顯貴爭相購買。最後,作品由新都縣「邦人仕女」集資買下,捐入寶光寺。該幅構圖與默齋本相似,但在淨瓶、圓光、雲霧、山石等細節處理上做出改動,使作品更為簡化。

本幅〈臨敦煌水月觀音〉,寫於紙本,應完成於寶光寺本相若時期。畫中觀音披藍綠色大巾,頭戴寶冠,項飾瓔珞,左手撫左膝,右手自然置於胸前,呈「如意坐」姿。大士神情悠閒,頸項微微上仰,正凝神遐思。其左側石檯上放有楊柳淨瓶和花籃,後背圓光、山石、竹葉,均用不同色度之石青、石綠,鉤染嚴謹。大千曾說「上色必定在二三次以上,這才使畫的顏色厚上加厚,美上加美」。對於顏料,他更不吝花費,敦煌初期便託朋友在塔爾寺、魯薩爾,重金購買數以百斤的藏藍、藏綠、硃砂等,有了這些礦物顏料,作品的山石、瓔珞、寶物、衣帶才能鮮豔耀目,經久不褪。此外,不同於川博本和寶光寺本,本作大量線條皆復線描金,祥雲、海面更施以大面積金粉平塗。遠觀之,觀音大士華貴端莊,紫竹林內熠熠生輝,仙塵淨土,一派殊勝。

四、一開新風
「千堵丹青,遁光莫曜.....上自元魏,下迄西夏,綿歷千祀,傑構紛如,實六法之神臯,先民之矩矱」,敦煌之行對大千影響深遠,他的性情、閱歷都因此而進入新的階段。畫風丕變,尤其是人物仕女畫創作,一改早年清新淡逸,娟秀纖弱,轉而走向雍容華貴、大氣奔放。

相較於其他三個版本的〈水月觀音〉,本幅在菩薩面部的塑造上,大千揉參己意,尤能揣測其風格走向。觀音開臉豐腴飽滿,眉毛彎曲,黛色鉤勒眉形後又以石青暈染,神采愈增。鼻樑挺秀,小口肥唇,眼神柔和,於莊嚴慈悲中,暗藏凡間女性之可親儀態,十分動人。敦煌石窟,上下千年,壁中無數美人,無論是近事女、供養人、國夫人、貴族后妃,多半是豐腴的、健美的、高大的,這形形色色的面孔啟發了張大千,盛唐之風照拂下的「以肥為美」也可以驚艷世人。

晚年張大千口述、曾克耑筆錄的《敦煌壁畫對中國繪畫之影響》,曾談及十要點:
一、 佛像、人像畫的抬頭;二、線條的被重視;三、鉤染方法的復古;四、畫壇的小巧作風為
偉大;五、畫壇的苟簡之風變為精密;六、對畫佛與菩薩有了精確的認識;七、女人都變為健美;八、有關史實的畫走向寫實的道路;九、寫佛畫要超現實來適合本國人口味;十、西洋畫不足以駭倒中國畫壇。這些要點,大千先生或多或少地融入到後來的創作,以今之眼光看來,不啻承上啟下,耳目一新於藝壇。

四十年代,大千迎來了其藝術創作的高峰期。一九四三年〈番女醉舞圖〉,一九四四年〈紅拂女〉、〈簪花仕女〉,一九四五年〈摩登仕女〉,一九四六年〈番女掣厖圖〉、〈繡幕讀詩圖〉、〈唐人鬥草仕女〉。這些美人,無論古今、中西,無不流光溢彩、各具風姿。

五十年代以後,大千鮮少再以工筆完整對臨敦煌作品,惟將所存舊稿,「時畫時綴」、「間復點染」,而「鬢髮兜鉾,未及鉤染處,即命二生完成之。蓋予目翳八年,不復耐次細筆矣」。大千去國後,留川家屬將早年大千自敦煌帶回稿件,悉數捐贈,存於公家收藏。而本幅〈水月觀音〉,歷經戰火,仍能保存完好,流傳於世,如今飄揚過海,再現香港拍場,冥冥之中,自有佛力護佑。

As the pre-eminent Chinese painter of the 20th century, Zhang Daqian had a long and prolific career that was often defined by his journeys. After becoming well-established in elite artistic circles in Shanghai during his early career, the artist returned to his native Sichuan in 1937, due to the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war (1937-1945). In 1941, he arrived at Dunhuang in Northwestern China, accompanied by his son, nephew, and an entourage of assistants to document, study and reproduce the recently rediscovered murals at the Mogao Caves, as well as those at the Yulin Caves, 170km to the east. His time in Dunhuang stood in stark contrast to the urban environment of Shanghai, and the nearly three years the artist spent at the Buddhist caves would significantly impact his approach to figure painting in the decades that followed.

Although briefly ordained as a Buddhist monk at the age of twenty (his name "Daqian" is an explicit reference to the Buddhist worldview of "a thousand, thousand Universes", i.e. the Great Chiliocosm), Zhang Daqian painted Buddhist subjects infrequently prior to 1941, and his technical approach for figure painting favored the methods of Tang Yin (1470-1523), Chen Hongshou (1598-1652) and Gai Qi (1774-1829) from the Ming and Qing dynasty. After his residency studying the murals at Dunhuang, Zhang Daqian's paintings were infused with the deepest roots of the Chinese figural painting traditions, as well as influences from Indian, Tibetan, Uyghur and Mongolian visual culture. The use and application of vivid, opulent colors, rhythmic lines, and emphasis on the hands and elegantly elongated fingers, were all aspects of Dunhuang mural art that informed the artist's figural paintings throughout his career.

The present lot portrays Avaloskitêśhvara (Guanyin), the Indian Bodhisattva of Compassion, reclining on a rock in the pose of royal ease (maharajalilasana). As indicated in the artist's inscription, the prototype is one of two 'Water-Moon' Guanyin in Cave 2 of the Yulin Grottoes (fig. 1), dating from the Western Xia dynasty (1038-1227). In addition to the present lot, Zhang Daqian painted at least three other versions of the composition, each with slight variations, all together exemplifying his progression toward artistic refinement on a single subject.

The earliest version of the four is in the collection of Sichuan Museum, a hanging scroll painted on cloth (fig. 2). When compared with the other three, this one most closely resembles the original mural at Yulin in terms of its squarish composition, the inclusion of Sudhana and the flat coloration with minimal gradation. A second version also on cloth and dated 1943, was formerly included in the collection of Jung Ying Tsao (fig. 3). In this version, the composition is elongated to emphasize the verticality of the landscape setting. Compared to the earlier work, the color contrasts in the foreground are softened, allowing the middle ground where the deity is portrayed to be the focus. The artist added more tones of green, and an inscription and water grasses in ink. The 1943 rendition demonstrates the artist's innovations, adding personal touches that transcend faithful reproduction of the original mural.
A third Water Moon Guanyin by Zhang Daqian based on the Yulin cave murals, dated 1945 and presently in the collection of Baoguang Temple in Chengdu (fig. 4) is the closest comparable example to the painting offered here. In both versions, the towering rock at the back is colored in a striking azurite. The celestial orb encircling the deity and the lotuses beneath the rocky pedestal are removed to achieve a more simplified and compact composition. While the Baoguang Temple painting employs a more solemn palette highlighting the contrast between dark azurite, malachite and red, the present lot introduces a sweeter and delightful color scheme. The lavish use of gold lines and golden washes evokes the luminous effect of gold leaf applied to the original mural. Whereas the two earliest paintings utilize bright yellow pigments to fill the clouds behind and above the vase, in the present lot, the artist relies on these colors for the lining of the deity's sash and a small piece of fabric on her right knee. The highly saturated colors assembled in the middle band of the painting anchor the viewer's gaze. It is also interesting to note that the lobed metal vase with a willow branch in the original fresco and Zhang Daqian's two earliest reproductions, transforms to porcelain in the two slightly later versions. The vase's white ceramic ground and interspersed red bands visually correspond to the deity's left arm with golden bracelets resting on her left knee.
Avaloskitêśhvara (Guanyin) is one of the most revered deities of the Indian Buddhist pantheon. The iconography of 'Water-Moon' Guanyin, however, was developed in China in the Tang dynasty with the Sinicization of Buddhism. Zhang Yanyuan (815-877) comments in Vol. 9 of Lidai Minghua Ji (A Record of Famous Paintings of All Dynasties) that the mid-Tang painter Zhou Fang (730-800) created a new expression of Bodhisattva portraiture that included a water element and the moon and exuded a sense of graveness and severeness(菩薩端嚴,妙創水月之體). The author records in Vol. 3 of the same book a mural portrait in Shengguang Temple 勝光寺 of a 'Water-Moon' Avalokitêśhvara with a halo and bamboo grove. The line drawing of this mural portrait was executed by Zhou Fang, and the coloring by Liu Zheng. 塔東南院,周昉畫水月觀自在菩薩掩障,菩薩圓光及竹,並是劉整成色. A comment from the Tang dynasty poet Bai Juyi (772-846) on Zhou Fang's 'Water-Moon' Avalokitêśhvara portrait provides us with more information about the original design: "Above the pure green water and amid the faint white light, [the deity] Alone I gaze upon the image; all happenings are illusory in nature. 淨綠水上,虛白光中,一睹其像,萬緣皆空(《畫水月菩薩讚》Although none of Zhou Fang's religious portraits survived today, two anonymous 10th-century paintings of 'Water-Moon' Avaloskitêśhvara in the collection of the Musée Guimet (fig. 5; inv. No. MG. 17775) and the British Museum (fig. 6; 1919,0101,0.29) provide us with a hint of Zhou Fang's original design.

The Western Xia mural from Yulin cave number 2 that Zhang Daqian studied and reproduced preserves major pictorial elements from these Tang Dynasty representations, but also includes Song and Western Xia innovations. For instance, the pictorial style of the bamboo and the gigantic porous rock nod to Song dynasty aesthetics. The reclining posture of the deity, gazing up to the moon in the sky rather than its reflection in the water may in fact be contributions of the anonymous Western Xia muralists. Zhang Daqian himself commented: "the works of Western Xia reveal painstaking attempts to blaze a new trail 西夏諸作......頗不屑踏陳跡." Perhaps the groundbreaking approach that was preserved in the Yulin caves inspired Zhang Daqian to recreate and further transform this composition multiple times.

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