Recently, I stumbled upon breathtaking plum blossoms while taking a walk. These delicate flowers evoked feelings of warmth and joy, reminding me of the arrival of spring. In Chinese culture, plum blossoms, beyond just being a physical flower, have become a symbol of perseverance and resilience in the face of harsh winter conditions. This significance was achieved through the extensive descriptions, sublimations, and chanting by literati and scholars over the ages. In ancient China, plum blossoms were considered a lucky symbol and were welcomed as a sign of the arrival of spring during the New Year.
When I was a child, my father taught me to recite the poem “Ode to the Plum Blossom” by Zedong Mao, reminding me to be fearless and strong like the plum blossom that blooms amidst harsh winter conditions. I really like the poem, and can still remember it.
Ode to the Plum Blossom
—to the tune of Bu Suan Zi
By Zedong Mao, December 1961
Wind and rain escorted Spring’s departure,
Flying snow welcomes Spring’s return.
On the ice-clad rock rising high and sheer
A flower blooms sweet and fair.
Sweet and fair, she craves not Spring for herself alone,
To be the harbinger of Spring she is content.
When the mountain flowers are in full bloom
She will smile mingling in their midst.
But after many years of struggles, I realized that bravery and strength aren’t always enough, especially in managing relationships and family. As a wife and mother, I learned the importance of being magnanimous, compassionate, forbearing, and not rigid. I have since embraced the peaceful and compassionate philosophy of Buddhism.
H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, the contemporary Buddha, wrote a poem “Plum Fragrance in the Holy Land.” He broke from traditional poetry styles, instead opting for surreal techniques to directly convey spiritual essence.
To the Tune of “Jiang Jun Song”
Plum Fragrance in the Holy Realm
Reveal her icy bearing and proud bones,
See how plum blossom commands the scene,
The crowd of beauties suddenly lacks color,
Seductive peach has lost its looks.
A few casual strokes,
So many eons of wind and dust.
The smoke and fire of the human world all disappears,
Leaving only a pure fragrance from the paper,
It wafts over me, awakening my mind.
The smile of the enchanted dream still remains,
Buddha Vajradhara has come
Three times to this world.
To this Buddha Land of merciful compassion
That great one has brought purity,
Feelings of the brush,
Traces of the brush,
One smile in the wind and dust,
Now the wind and dust,
So many eons of wind and dust.
The Buddha also created an ink painting to accompany the poem. The poem delves deeper into the artist’s thoughts, while the painting provides a visual representation.
The plum blossoms depicted in the paintings symbolize the artist’s state of mind, embodying inner beauty refined from impurities. The brushwork, casually applied, was accomplished with an unfettered hand and detached mind, free of the slightest artificiality. It is a seemingly ever-changing work. Its charm, tone, transitions, and depictions represent the highest level of Eastern ink-and-wash paintings. A transparent layer of lighter ink on top of darker ink is clearly visible, imbuing the painting with a pure and fragrant air and providing the viewer with a feeling of comfort and ease.
The plum blossoms created by these skilled pens are eternal. While natural blooms may come and go, Buddha’s compassion remains steadfast.
Dr. Yuhua Shouzhi Wang is a highly skilled and talented artist who has created a unique form of art using hand-sculpted wood and oil paints. Her faux coral sculptures are so realistic that they are often mistaken for real coral. The texture, watery tone, colors, and charm of her sculptures are breathtaking and truly unique.
In 2008, Dr. Wang’s artworks were exhibited in the Gold Room at the United States Capitol, where her talents were recognized by the United States Congress. She was officially recognized as “a great artist and sculptor” for her outstanding accomplishments and contributions to cultural exchange between the East and the West.
Coral reefs are one of nature’s most impressive creations, often referred to as the “rainforests of the sea.” They are massive structures made of limestone deposited by coral polyps. Dr. Wang’s sculptures not only capture the beauty of coral reefs but also showcase her own artistic talents. Her work truly is a testament to the power of human creativity and imagination.
Parched Ancient Coral
This piece was hand-sculpted and painted in oil colors by Professor Yuhua Shouzhi Wang. Its shape and colors are even more genuine-looking and beautiful than those of real coral from the bottom of the sea or parched islands. When touching this sculpture, it tangibly feels like coral that has been eroded through immersion in water for millions of years. One cannot help but marvel at how such coral texture is created by Prof. Wang. Corals of such kind are difficult to find. Its appeal is further enhanced by the matching hand-sculpted vase called Emerald Green Fine Jade. The set has an air of elegance and refinement, surpassing the beauty of natural coral.
Sheep Tallow Dew
Pink, moist-looking, and with an understated luster, this faux coral seems as sleek as sheep tallow jade. It conveys a sense of morning dew that is deeply moving. Its wonder, colors, lustrous beauty, overall quality, and artistic flair unite to form a precious sculpture captivating in both spirit and appearance. Combined with a hand-sculpted, delightful, elegant matching vase of milky white faux jade, it becomes a doubly charming masterpiece. When a special exhibition of the art of Yuhua Shouzhi Wang was held at the United States Capitol, it was stated in the Congressional Record that her wood-based faux coral and cobblestones that she hand-sculpted and painted with oil colors “have become treasures of the world.”
This attractively hanging coral is as clean as white jade. After it was sculpted from wood material, it was painted with oil colors and glazed. It conveys a sense of moistness and distinctive texture stemming from its natural-looking shape, hues, and luster. It is sleek yet true to life as if it were real coral. All who view it will enjoy its purity, elegance, and comforting air. Combined with the matching vase called “Cai Yi Tao,” this faux coral appears even more beautiful, attractive, and elegant than real ones in nature. This piece was on view in a dedicated exhibition of Dr. Yuhua Shouzhi Wang at the United States Capitol in 2008.
Sea Palace Monarch
This gigantic coral you now see has been named “Sea Palace Monarch.” Presumably, your first feeling was that of surprise. Is it a genuine coral? Does such large coral exist in the world? If it is not a genuine coral, then why do its luster, texture, and appearance look so real and natural? From the bottom of your heart, you would happily accept it as genuine coral because it is truly so beautiful, so aesthetically pleasing. How beautiful your living room would be if it contained this sculpture! Nonetheless, reason and knowledge tell you that this world could not possibly have genuine coral so huge and so gorgeous. Indeed, even if you searched every corner of every coral reef in the oceans of the earth, you would still not find coral of such beauty and size. Its name, “Sea Palace Monarch,” means that it is the sovereign of the seas since it is the largest treasure in all the oceans. However, such colossal and splendid coral cannot be found in real oceans because it simply does not exist in this world.
Each of these three faux coral sculptures has its own distinct allure and shades of color. The aged appearance of the mouse-fur-pattern faux coral gives it the particularly strong charm of an ancient fossil from the deep sea. However, the green faux coral, which seems permeable to light, looks as if it was taken from the waters near Malaysia and Indonesia. It was painted in vivid watercolors and conveys sublime elegance. Its delightful spring green expresses purity and freshness. The yellow faux coral resembling fine jade reveals an inner warmth that would certainly be enjoyable to the touch. Each of these three works is an embodiment of talent in sculpting and painting.
With unparalleled works of art such as this, it is no wonder the artistic accomplishments of Yuhua Shouzhi Wang were recognized as “treasures of the world.” Those amazing beautiful treasures are in the permanent exhibition at The International Art Museum of America in downtown San Francisco. Admission of the museum is free.
If you’re a fan of cobblestone streets and the charming, rustic aesthetic they bring to a neighborhood, you’ll love these hand painted cobblestones created by Professor Yuhua Shouzhi Wang. These cobblestones were painstakingly hand-sculpted from a light-weight material and then completed with fine, dedicated brushwork by the artist.
Although they may look like real cobblestones at first glance, these pieces are actually more beautiful than the real thing. They are precious works of art, not actual cobblestones. Upon closer examination, it is clear that the texture and color tones of these faux cobblestones are just as realistic as the real ones.
Professor Wang has spent many years sculpting these cobblestones from a light-weight material, and has then meticulously completed them with her fine brushwork. The result is a set of cobblestones that are not only beautiful, but also have the same texture and color tones as real ones. It’s hard to believe that these cobblestones are not the real thing when you look at them.
In The International Art Museum of America permanent exhibition, has a set of seventy seven these cobblestones in total. These cobblestones are more than just a pretty facade. They are truly works of art, and a testament to the dedication and talent of Professor Wang. Every pebble she creates is unique, with its own shape, texture, color, and degree of weathering and aging. And with each pebble being an independent fine brushwork painting, it’s clear to see the level of detail and craftsmanship that goes into each one.
In year 2019, New York Academy of Art has certified that Dr. Yuhua Shouzhi Wang is the international first-class artist in the world, who is ranked at the same level as Cezanne, Gaugain, Monet, and Van Gogh.
If you have the opportunity to see Professor Wang’s hand painted cobblestones in person, I highly recommend it. They are a sight to behold and a true work of art. You’ll be amazed at the level of detail and craftsmanship that has gone into creating these precious pieces. So don’t miss the chance to see these hand painted cobblestones at The International Art Museum of America in downtown San Francisco. Admission of the museum is free.
On March 18, 2019, the painting “Pomegranates in a Bamboo Basket” by Dr. Yuhua Shouzhi Wang was sold at the exceptional price of US$1.27 million during the spring auction at Gianguan Auctions in New York. Dr. Wang has been recognized by the New York Academy of Art as an international first-class artist. The auction price of this small painting, which is only twenty-seven by eighteen inches, astounded the art market!
The paintings of Dr. Yuhua Shouzhi Wang are characterized by divine, out of this world artistic conception. Her paintings carry the likeness of both the form and the spirit, and are created with profound skills. They also carry a strong sense of scholarly essence. There rarely is anyone in this world who can be of comparison. Her artistic skill is solid and formidable. Following the tradition of Chinese ink paintings as her foundation, Dr. Wang also incorporates the super-realistic skills and transcends her works to become that of distinguished style and purity. Her paintings transcend the mundane to attain the class of ease which is the highest of the four classes of artistic mastery.
Dr. Yuhua Shouzhi Wang was recognized and chronicled in the United States Congressional Record as “a great artist and sculptor,” and “treasure of the world.” In 2013, President George Christophides of the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centers, and Associations (WFUCA) conferred the title “2013WFUCA” to one of her artworks.
In 2019, a solo exhibition of Dr. Yuhua Shouzhi Wang, that was held by the Department of Culture of Thailand, astounded Thailand. The Thai Department of Culture issued official notice to all schools and universities informing them to visit the exhibition and learn from the art of Dr. Yuhua Shouzhi Wang. The Department of Culture also thanked Dr. Wang for bringing her art of distinguished quality to Thailand.
The unique artworks of Dr. Yuhua Shouzhi Wang are hard to come by. There are a small number of editions in the market. For many years, the unique artworks are collected by admirers and are rarely available in the market. During the recent Gianguan spring auction, a small painting was sold at the shocking price of US$1.27 million, making the top lot of the auction.
What is even more exceptional is that Dr. Yuhua Shouzhi Wang is the only Asian international first-class artist in the world who is ranked at the same level as Cezanne, Gaugain, Monet, and Van Gogh.
In 1896, Claude Monet painted the first of 250 canvases with the subject of waterlilies. National treasures in France, they are among the most beloved artworks in the world. Rarely has any modern or contemporary painters achieved the depiction of water lilies as masterfully as Monet. Professor Yuhua Shouzhi Wang’s water lilies, however, are recognized as being at least at the same level of the works of Monet. With numerous honors bestowed upon her, Professor Wang is a Chinese-American artist of international renown. Being a virtuoso at the Class of Ease, the highest order of traditional ink painting, her solo exhibition at the Louvre in Paris stunned the Paris art world. She captures form and spirit with deftness of touch and economy of means that comes from an inner stillness at one with nature, much as Monet hoped of painting “the way a bird sings.”
Monet’s earliest works are studies of his Giverny water garden that include a blue-green Japanese footbridge, showing the influence of that culture upon his landscape design as well as these intimate landscape paintings. Serving as a tincture to the wellspring of Monet’s imagination, water lilies had long been of aesthetic, spiritual, and practical value in ancient Mediterranean cultures and the Far East, but they were a new sensation in the West. Monet’s pond was filled with hybrids of hardy white and exotic water lilies introduced at the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris.
Water Lilies by Claude Monet 1916
Professor Yuhua Shouzhi Wang has a command of line and ink wash, attaining a virtuoso facility with her brush strokes. Originating within the literati, ink painting was a scholarly activity that combined poetry and calligraphy, such that the hand sought to bring forth the essence of a landscape or its elements. While there is almost formal attention to the implements and how to hold them, media and water, and even posture, the goal is simplicity, spontaneity, and self-expression with an economy of means. Unlike the Western concept of self as separate and distinct, the self in Eastern philosophy is in harmony or one with nature, and the lines in a painting convey emotion as much as observation — a merging of interior and exterior. The act of painting is one of harmony through self-discipline. Behind the spareness and flourish are years of study and intense concentration. Renowned French critic Ms. Aude de Kerros acclaims: “Ink painting is not just a skill, it is also a way of being. Yuhua Shouzhi Wang’s path is timeless. It is self-explanatory in three words: ‘unique brush stroke.’ Springing from her heart is a breath of life that accomplishes the work.”
At the turn of the century when the first in the water lily series were exhibited, Monet was highly successful, and he no longer was simply the “innocent eye” of his youthful Impressionist days. In detecting the influence of Asian art, critics responded to these flowered pools as a place of dreamlike contemplation — “a luminous abyss” — and the motif would become Monet’s obsession in his final years. As he progressed, Monet eliminated elements in the setting to create a new pictorial space with the waterlilies floating on reflective water. The everywhere all-at-once compositions have been seen by some art historians as anticipating the works of Abstract Expressionism and thus the trajectory of 20th-century Western art.
Rather than the formalized treatment of the subject, Professor Wang approaches her water lilies with the all-encompassing, painterly composition and loose brushwork available to one working in oils. Xie hua is an expression in Chinese esthetics that means “to write a picture.” The foundation of Monet’s art is painting outdoors and finding equivalents in pigments for how light transmits the scene before him. This plein airapproach thus emphasizes color more than line. Going from a masterful use of inks to using oils, Professor Wang retains her deftness of line and gesture in her transcendental rather than literal interpretation. The artform in which she is steeped asks the painter to draw upon spiritual insight, and so her waterscapes are not a series of moments of time, but the portrayal of a metaphysical plane. Monet’s waterscapes may be a dreamlike depiction of sky reflected on the water, but he adheres to the horizontal ordering of landscape, whereas Professor Wang’s compositions and the elements within are more rhythmic, fluid, multimodal, and in a way calligraphic.
Water Lilies Dreaming amidst Cloud-Like Mist depicts a gnarled branch with yellow blossoms dipping toward and into shimmering water. The twists and turns of the rough wood of perhaps a plum tree have the desired unevenness and dynamism of cursive calligraphic characters. Professor Wang contrasts this rustic, jagged form with the soft pastel hues and feathery strokes over which it arches. The wispier, diluted touches of hues are meant to suggest the pond upon which the flowers float, the cloud-filled sky above, as well as mist rising from the waters. This combination of land forms like mountains and ancient trees shrouded in mist brings forth consonance with the universal order.
Water Lilies Dreaming amidst Cloud-Like Mist by Dr. Yuhua ShouZhi Wang
The true nature of reality — the pattern and structure of the universe — is a matter of harmonious relationships. The blossoms on the branch suggest the arrival of spring, which is part of the cyclical movement of the seasons, and therein the process of change. Nature is not an aggregation of those forms we see, such as trees, rocks, rivers, birds, etc., but a series of ongoing, unfolding, inexhaustible transformation. Where the branches break the water, ripples flow outward. The petals of the water lilies open, and the water flows around and with these symbols of transformation. The first signs of spring begin to appear immediately after winter has peaked. The top of Cloud-like Mists from the Water is darkly shaded and the bottom is the whitest, which is the opposite of expectations but imparts a sense of an exchange of heaviness and lightness or the meeting of heaven and earth.
In Western art, color is most associated with change, as it relates to perceptual experience rather than conceptual understanding. In her water lily and lotus paintings, Professor Wang introduces color to her repertoire in a manner imbued with light, and she is not bound by appearances. In Water Lilies and Weeds Exude Nature Like a Song, she works with a palette of rich hues with a dominant purplish note offset by pink, blues, and greens. Eye-catching red and white flowers are dotted accents in the middle of the canvas, and in their somewhat irregular placement allow the viewer to travel through the painting. The vegetation funnels through the central section with the darker tangled weeds pressing in, both impeding and quickening the flow. The contrast of tonality is not about shadow but more a means of contrast and counterforce, and so the artist also uses color as line with the encroaching weeds. Color and the combination of color and line are used to express energy within all things and depicting a flow of unceasing change that moves to a state of balance.
Water Lilies and Weeds Exude Nature Like a Song
We see that even more dramatically in Professor Wang’s painting Leaves Are Obscured in the Wind, Yet Lotuses are Visibly Swaying on the Water. In the midst of a brooding purple color field, a sweep of animated white and blue strokes starts at the bottom of the canvas and widens to become more vivid as it stretches to the top, almost like the shape of a cyclone or swirling windstorm. Off-center in the middle is where a concentration of sky-blue bravura strokes unleashing their force upon the regular weave of red-white lotus flowers with verdant greens pads, such that the enlivening contrasting colors along with the compositional diagonal make the pond seem to sway. The artist envisions the scene as if the air breathes upon the water. Sharing space and air, we are inseparable from the natural world. Whereas Monet’s waterlilies and the mirroring reflections are a place for introspection, Professor Wang allows us to contemplate and transcend the visible.
Leaves Are Obscured in the Wind, Yet Lotuses are Visibly Swaying on the Water
Approaching oil painting as relayed by recent Western art, Professor Yuhua Shouzhi Wang adopts a uniquely creative approach that transcends culture and the East-West dichotomy. Professor Stephen Farthing, academician of the Royal College of Art in London and former Ruskin Master at the Ruskin School of Fine Art at Oxford University commented, “Professor Wang’s paintings may draw heavily on the traditions of Eastern art but they present themselves as extraordinarily Western ideas and images…” By ridding oneself of distractions from everyday life, the artist’s true nature takes over. In Water Lilies, Sky, and Water at Oneness in Beauty Like a Song, she uses a lot of impasto in which thick pigment lies on the surface. Within a square canvas, pastel shades of blue, green, pink, and gold jostle against a blended layer of more brazen hues. Throughout one sees evidence of paint dragged by a brush that suggests tendrils of vegetation, and dashes of red for lilies are sometimes obscured. The space between the act of painting and the suggestion of nature in display is thin, as creativity and nature become one and the same. With a high degree of attainment, Professor Wang can paint with the spontaneity and effortless action that arises from a serene place of non-self.
Dr. Wang is a Lifetime Honorary Chairman of The International Art Museum of America, located at downtown San Francisco. We can appreciate many of her artworks in a dedicated gallery hall at the museum.
Last Sunday, I was so blessed to have a chance to visit the treasure room in The International Art Museum of America. The room only open four times a year. Three big locks fully close the door. Three persons open locks at the same time. One museum staff accompanied me inside the room, introducing each artworks, and answering my questions. There are four pieces of extremely beautiful splendid Yun Sculptures inside the room.
From the introduction, I learned that Yun Sculpture is an art form created by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III. It is exquisite and mysterious, their beauty is astonishing and spellbinding, and structures are both exquisitely fine and sophisticated, with unanticipated variations. Unprecedented in history, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III’s Yun sculptures are the first form of art that cannot be replicated, regardless of the method used.
The first one I saw is called Holy Purity. Its color is soft and lustrous, like thin white silk. It looks as pure and noble as jade or ice, has an elegant hanging style, and is completely free of any flaw. This artwork, which is pleasing to the eye and comforting to the mind, fully deserves that name it was given, for it indeed possesses the qualities of holiness, purity, elegance, refinement, and white splendor.
When look at different angles, I can see various remarkable sights, and light auspicious mist. I truly experienced a carefree and peaceful feeling that is difficult to describe. I felt my heart and soul are purified by this noble object. The pictures here are too dark, the whole sculpture is totally milky white.
Mystery of Lovely Colors
The second piece is called Mystery of Lovely Colors. Just like its name, it is a very vibrant and colorful artwork.
Mystery of Lovely Colors is a big Yun sculpture. Its structure and overall arrangement can only be described as “endlessly varied” and “unfathomably mysterious.” Phrases such as “swirling unusual colors,” “a mixture of emptiness and substance,” and “too beautiful to be absorbed all at once” are used to describe its grandeur, beauty, and elegance. When this exquisite sculpture is viewed from different angles, one can see various wonderful and fascinating sights that seem to be constantly changing.
The museum guide told me : “When this Yun sculpture was displayed in the Gold Room of the United States Capitol and at the Organization of American States, experts and scholars viewed it with admiration, praising it with words such as, “a gift from God to mankind,” “a treasure from a Buddha-land,” “captivatingly beautiful,’ and even “since the appearance of Yun sculptures, all treasures in this human world have become like stars in the sky that pale against a resplendent moon.”
Mysterious Mist Inside A Stone
Inside a small rome, there are two very special Yun sculpture pieces called Mysterious Mist in a Stone. One can see that mist is permanently sculpted in it like a miracle.
White jade-like gauze hangs inside a stone Unmatched sculpting produces emotion amid the mist Without words, a rare melody plays inside the cave Such heavenly scenery is difficult to duplicate
From its external appearance, one can see that “Mysterious Mist Inside a Stone” is an ordinary greenish rock that is a few feet long. However, the inside of it is a totally different world. Its interior contains layer upon layer of what appears to be peaks and hills, forming a beautiful crisscrossing network. Its scenes seem to change endlessly, giving it a profoundly mystical quality. In some parts of the stone’s interior, there is mist as exquisite as chiffon, while in other parts the mist is so thick it covers whatever is behind it. In the latter case, a lamplight that penetrates mist must be shone into the stone to view the background scenes. One can see mist circling upward.
Right beside the Mysterious Mist Inside a Stone is another sculpture also has mist inside. It is called Mysterious Boulder with Mist. There are two grottoes inside the boulder, each of which contains its own scenery. When you look inside the right grotto, you will see thick mist enveloping everything. The structure of the carved scenery inside this hole is vague, since it cannot be clearly seen through the mist. You are left with the impression that the mist is a few dozen yards deep inside the hole when it is actually only three or four feet deep. When you look inside the left grotto, you will see that there is no mist at all. You will clearly see the structure of the carved scenery inside this hole. The material used to carve those two grottoes was the same, the colors applied to both of them were the same, and their depth is the same. The carving skills and inner-realization of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III caused this mysterious phenomenon of one side containing thick, enveloping mist and the other side containing no mist at all.
Sculptors throughout history have been able to produce material forms or images through sculpting. However, no one has been able to produce through sculpting something as insubstantial and formless as fog or mist. Nonetheless, there are sculptures of H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III that combine both material form and mist.
While I was fascinated by those beautiful artworks, I seem to hear the works say, “I’m born on this earth in such a beautiful and exquisite way. Who or what kind of artist gave birth to me? I could not have been given life by a mundane person. “
H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III’s Yun sculptures can truly be called peerless, priceless treasures. H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III was able to create these treasures based upon his high state of realization, profound and extensive knowledge, as well as his penetration of the laws that underlie the birth, growth, and change of all things in the universe.
One of the most beloved flowers in China, the plum blossoms (méi-huā, 梅花) have been frequently depicted in Chinese painting and poetry for centuries. The Chinese see its blossoms as both a symbol of winter as well as a harbinger of spring. It is precisely for this reason that the blossoms are so beloved, as they bloom most vibrantly amidst the winter snow, after most other plants have shed their leaves, and before other flowers appear. They are seen as an example of resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity. Though neither the plum tree nor its blossoms are very striking, they manage to exude an otherworldly exquisiteness and beautiful elegance. The demeanor and character of the plum tree thereby serves as a metaphor for inner beauty and humble display under adverse conditions. Because they blossom in winter, the plum blossom is a member of the “Three Friends of Winter (歲寒三友)”, along with the pine and the bamboo. The plum blossom is also a member of the “Four Gentlemen (四君子)” in Chinese art (the others being orchid, bamboo, and chrysanthemum), symbolizing nobility. In China, there are over 300 recorded cultivars of mei, which can be broadly divided by color into white, pink, red, purple, and light green types.
When we look through all of the ancient and modern books on plum blossom paintings, it is not difficult to discover that all of the famous master plum blossom painters had extensive knowledge, deep understanding of ancient and their own contemporary times, and immense talents. No artist in history can be found who lacked virtue and learning and still was capable of painting highly exquisite plum blossom paintings. The plum blossom paintings of ancient artists such as Mian Wang and Dongxin Jin and the modern artist Changshuo Wu are splendid works based upon the profound knowledge and virtue of their creators.
As a contemporary artist, the Pop of Buddhist, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III has also painted dozens of masterpieces of plum blossom compositions. All in the book entitled Collected Plum Blossom Paintings, Calligraphy, Poems, and Songs. Wielding the brush with great facility, His Holiness creates paintings that are completely devoid of mundane garishness, have the exquisite look of ancient bronze and stone inscriptions, and are imbued with a scholarly air. His Holiness’s painting skills have surpassed the ordinary and reached the consummate mastery of a holy being. Below are several art works from the book. Some of the paintings are in the exhibition of The International Art Museum of America.
Yellow plum blossoms bloom in winter and are generally used during Chinese New Year celebrations as a symbol of great auspiciousness. The painting expresses beauty of a real plum blossom grove.
The turquoise plum blossom is a rare species of plum blossom. These elegant, sublime flowers have a strong resistance to coldness and a scent that is quite fresh and fragrant. This painting has a vigorous and firm style yet maintains great simplicity. The brushwork is bold, vigorous, and completely unconstrained. Large, dancing strokes of a casual hand and free mind bring to form branches and twigs.
The brushwork, casually applied, was accomplished with an unfettered hand and detached mind, free of the slightest artificiality. It is a seemingly ever-changing work. Its charm, tone, transitions, and depictions represent the highest level of Eastern ink-and-wash paintings. A transparent layer of lighter ink on top of darker ink is clearly visible, imbuing the painting with a pure and fragrant air and providing the viewer with a feeling of comfort and ease.
A most elegant and valued plum flower called ‘Dong Fen” (winter powder). It is widely known to be the king of whiter plum blossoms. A strong contrast is presented by the graceful dense ink that was used to paint the tree trunk and the whiting used to form the flowers. The spatial effect of fairness adds to the charm of the picture, showing an awareness of both emptiness and form. A very special aspect of this painting is that the artist did not apply powerful, bold strokes of uneven contour and content. Rather, ink was applied through a gradual moistening process, manifesting the strong talent of the artist.
From ancient times, the lotus has been a divine symbol in Asian traditions. It is one of the Eight Auspicious Signs (Ashtamangala) pertaining to a number of Dharmic Traditions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism. In Buddhist symbolism, the lotus represents purity of the body, speech, and mind as if floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire. Therefore, many deities of Asian religions are depicted as seated on a lotus flower. It is said that Gautama Buddha was born with the ability to walk, and lotus flowers bloomed everywhere he stepped.
In the classical written and oral literature of many Asian cultures, the lotus is present in figurative form, representing elegance, beauty, perfection, purity, and grace. Perhaps the most famous text is the poetic essay “On the Love of the Lotus” by Zhou Dunyi (1017-1073). As Zhou writes, “I love only the lotus, for rising from the mud yet remaining unstained; bathed by pure currents and yet not seductive.” The lotus is the “gentleman among flowers.” The term “gentleman” (junzi), of course, has since the time of Confucius been the ideal human being. So not surprisingly, the lotus flower is also a popular subject in Chinese paintings.
Zhang Daqian (張大千, 1899–1983), original name Zhang Yuan (張爰) and pseudonym Daqian, was one of the best-known and most prodigious Chinese artists of the twentieth century. He is also regarded by many art experts as one of the most gifted master forgers of the twentieth century. He is especially famous for his landscape, as well as lotus paintings.
As a child, Zhang Daqian was encouraged by his family to pursue painting. In 1917 his elder brother, Zhang Shanzi (an artist famous for his tiger paintings), accompanied him to Kyoto, Japan, to study textile dyeing. Two years later, Zhang Daqian went to Shanghai to receive traditional painting instruction from two famous calligraphers and painters of the time, Zeng Xi (曾熙) and Li Ruiqing (李瑞清). Through his association with these teachers, Zhang had the opportunity to study some works by ancient masters in detail. His early style attempted to emulate the Ming-Qing Individualists, including Tang Yin (唐寅), Chen Hongshou (陳洪綬), and Shitao (石濤). He meticulously studied and copied their works and began to make forgeries; his paintings after Shitao successfully deceived some of the best connoisseurs.
The lotus painted by Zhang Daqian is known as the “Daqian Lotus”, which is extremely popular in the auction market, and the price has repeatedly hit new highs. Among them, “Lotus Pond Wilderness” is particularly prominent. It was sold at HK$80.51 million (about $10 Million) at the 2013 Christie’s Spring Auction in Hong Kong, causing a sensation in the world.
A set of four hanging scrolls each more than five feet high and 2.5 feet wide – depict lotus flowers in various state of bloom. Completed in 1947. This masterpiece, however, despite its enormous size, is still well-organized. Within magnificence unfolds delicate tenderness; integrated artist early scholar-painter style and commitment to elegant, smooth brush strokes. Zhang vividly portrays the lotuses growing in nature, swaying in the summer breeze…. It truly is a fine example of the artist’s large scale lotus compositions.
More lotus paintings by Zhang Daqian:
However, a Contemporary Painting “Ink Lotus” by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Was Sold for the US$16,500,500 at the Gianguan 2015 Spring Auction to Break the World Record.
The ink-wash painting Lotus by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III has an uninhibited, natural, and spontaneous brushwork that is dense, bold, and robust, but also elegant and agile. It exhibits a charm that is like stone and bronze inscriptions. Flowing splash-ink on the scroll produces a vivid charm that evidences great ingenuity. There is an air of power and grandeur together without any trace of stiff, common, mundane artistry found in other lotus flower paintings. Overall, the whole painting manifests a harmonious and moving imagery, naturally emanating a lively vivaciousness and a carefree, spirited aura.
Recently I have visited H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Culture and Art Museum. It was very impressive, every composition there is world class. Especially the Yun sculptures, the colors of Yun sculptures are gorgeous, presenting a dreamlike and illusory scene not found in this world. Yun sculptures convey a sense of multidimensionality and are carved in extremely fine and complex detail, truly manifesting endless forms of variation. From the introduction, I learned that Yun Sculpture is a new form of art that H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III created for humanity. It has never appeared before in history. Since the advent of Yun sculptures, artwork that can never be duplicated has appeared for the first time in the human world.
There is one called “A Pillar Holding Up Heaven “. About three meters tall, it truly is a holy and inconceivably wondrous treasure. The artwork is crystal-like bright with extremely fine details. Its beauty is more than eyes could capture. With the glass-like transparency, it is unbelievably touching and striking to see and the countless forms and variations within the structure are indescribable by words. The Yun sculpture is made from carving an acrylic material and then applying colors.
The story behind this Yun sculpture is even more astonishing. There is an account documented by a Buddhist disciple Qi, Pengzhi who personally witnessed the true event.
“What I am about to say is about the Yun sculpture “A Pillar Holding Up Heaven” created by Master Wan Ko Yee (H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III ), my Buddha Dharma King Master. One year and nine months ago, this holy work of art was completed and its shape finalized. At August 18, 2004, several of us decided to place the artwork “A Pillar Holding Up Heaven” into a display cabinet. First, the bottom edge of the artwork had to be closely traced on a baseboard. This was done to make sure that the sculpture would be centered. I personally traced a black line very carefully around the artwork. At that point, we all figured out that the size of the display cabinet which had previously been calculated and built was too small and the upper portion of the artwork would go beyond the baseboard. Because the body of the artwork was too large, it was impossible to fit in the display cabinet. H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha IIIstrictly criticized us, “Why didn’t you measure it right in the beginning? Will this display cabinet, worth thousands of dollars, now be discarded?” The Master faced “A Pillar Holding Up Heaven” and casually said to himself, “It would be nice if you could become smaller!” After the Master finished saying that, six of us lifted “A Pillar Holding Up Heaven” and placed it down on the floor. Because it was such a precious piece and worth so much, we all guarded the spot.
Approximately five hours passed. We then lifted it to the baseboard preparing to take a picture. Just as “A Pillar Holding Up Heaven” was moved up to the baseboard where I had previously traced the black line, a fellow disciple suddenly yelled, “Hey, it has become the magic stick of Sun Wu Kong (the Monkey King)!” Everyone looked. To our surprise, “A Pillar Holding Up Heaven” had actually shrunk. With only H.H. Buddha Dharma King’s words “Let it be smaller…”, it actually shrunk and now fit perfectly into the display cabinet. At this moment, I traced a red line around the bottom edge of the artwork once again on the same baseboard that showed the previously traced black line. When comparing the two lines, the widest part of the artwork had actually shrunk and the line was now more than two inches smaller than the previous line. The entire upper portion of the artwork shrank and fit perfectly into the area of the display cabinet. This inanimate piece of artwork which had already finalized its shape was truly magnificent and unbelievably amazing. “
“I am a Buddhist disciple. I would not fabricate false testimony which would violate the law of cause and effect. These two lines were traced by me that day based on the bottom edge of the actual artwork that day. Moreover, the artwork indeed shrank because of the Master’s words. If any of the above is falsely fabricated, I shall be punished, enter the three evil paths and become an animal. If this account of said facts is authentic, I will greatly gain good fortune and wisdom and dedicate the merit to the well-being of everyone.
Now, I have some honest words that come from my heart that I would like to give everyone. Everyone should think about just what level this great and authentic Buddha-dharma actually is on so that such power can be demonstrated. Shouldn’t we take this opportunity to take refuge and learn the authentic Buddha-dharma? “
I love all four seasons, but Autumn is my favorite. Autumn is an artist, painting the world in vibrant hues of red and gold. The sunshine is warm and soft, and the sweet joy of the harvest season fills the air. And to top it all off, the weather is just about perfect. There is truly no better time to just sit down and take in the beauty of nature.
Many artists aspire to capture this beauty in brush and ink, to keep a souvenir of Fall’s charm. When I saw the painting Qiu She Yan Yun (Mist, Clouds, and Autumnal Color) for the first time, I felt as if I had melted into the distinct autumnal colors and mist.
“Mist, Clouds, and Autumnal Color” is a splash-color painting that conveys a very strong sense of flowing watery ink and colors. An air of power and grandeur expressed through clouds that seem to swallow mountains and waters pervades the entire painting. The natural captivating charm of this scene is similar to the charm of a scene on the ground after a long, flowing river has just rolled by. This setting is embellished with red maple leaves and houses amid autumnal, cloudy mountains, presenting a wonderful image distinctly characteristic of fall.
When carefully examining the watery ink that produced such charm, one can see beautiful areas that are themselves paintings within a painting and details that are hidden within rough brushwork. Even within small areas are subtle variations of darkness and light, of the surreal and the real, all the while embodying splendid charm.
The artist highly preserves traditional painting skills, large-scale splash-ink technique, freehand brush work and fine brush stroke. Very tiny signs of charm can be seen amid this large-scale splash-ink painting. Soaring charm and exceptional beauty are words that aptly describe this art work.