Pictorial Ceramics – Contemporary Porcelain

Humphrey K. F. Hui, Min Qiu Society Hong Kong 许建勋, 敏求精舍

This talk focuses on Republic and contemporary porcelains (民國及近代瓷器): from fakes of  the three Qing (清) dynasties of Kangxi (康熙), Yongzheng (雍正) and Qianlong (乾隆), to early Republic works and down to the national recognized masters of the present day.  After the collapse of the Qing Empire, conforming to imperial format of porcelain design was no longer necessary, so allowing artists’ freedom in their pictorial endeavours.  Simultaneously, the closure of imperial kilns also forced their potters/artists to switch to the civilian market with modern drivers.

Following the innovative application of ‘jianjiang” (淺絳) painting by the common painters applying lighter palette so as to reveal the distance landscapes, pioneer porcelain artist Cheng Man (程門) in Jingdezhen (景德鎭).The ceramic capital also adopted a similar style in ceramics.  This fresh approach of painting style prompted the formation of the “Full Moon Gathering” (月圓會) by a group of eight artists, who were dedicated their efforts to this movement.  The members, later increasing to ten, would gather on full moon day to exchange ideas or engage in joint artistic pursuits.  They became commonly known as the “Eight friends of Zhusan or Mt. Pearl (珠山八友)”.  The members led by Wang Qi (王琦) are Wang Dafan (王大凡), He Xuren (何許人), Xu Zhongnan (徐仲南), Deng Bishan (鄧碧珊), Tian Hexian (田鶴仙), Cheng Yiting (程意亭), Wang Yeting (汪野亭), Bi Botao (畢伯濤) and Liu Yucen (劉汝岑).  Mt. Peal is located by Jingdezhen where the literati porcelain painters congregated. Contemporaries like Wang Bu (王步), Pan Taoyu (潘陶宇), Wang Xiaotang (汪曉棠) etc. have also obtained parallel acclaim while many of their students and followers such as Wang Xiling (黄錫良), Jiang Songmao (張松茂), Dai Ronghua (載榮華), Wang Longfu (王隆夫), He Shushui (何叔水) and Lu Ru (陸如) were bestowed with the ultimate title of “National Art Master” in recognition of their contributions.

Humphrey K. F. Hui 

Hui is a leading collector of Chinese arts particularly snuff bottles and has served on the Board of the International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society. Chinese snuff bottles and other art objects from his collection have been exhibited in museums located in Hong Kong, Australia, and the United States. While helping museums to curate exhibitions, Hui is also the co-author of The Imperial Collection and Inkplay in Microcosm on snuff bottles of his own collection, Elegance and Radiance on Qing glass, Ethereal Elegance on Imperial Qing ceramic vases, Elegance in Relief on Chinese carved porcelains published by the Art Museum, Chinese University of Hong Kong. At the Art Gallery and Museum, University of Hong Kong, he was the co-curator of the exhibition, Virtuous Treasures on later Chinese jades.  His latest effort was writing the English text in a book on the jade collection of a well-known collector; Mr. Thomas Fok titled The Splendour of Jade.  Hui is also an international speaker on Chinese arts delivering talks at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, Museum of Art in Hong Kong, Southeast Asian Ceramic Society in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Denver Art Museum, Colorado, United States.  This will be his first talk in the United Kingdom.  Hui is now focusing on collecting contemporary porcelains and intends to catalogue his with another collection later in the year.