WANG LIPEI (1864-1943)
Five-character Calligraphic Couplet in Seal Script
A pair of hanging scrolls, ink on paper
Each scroll measures 94.5 x 23.5 cm. (37 1⁄4 x 9 1⁄4 in.)
Dated Chongyang Festival, gengwu year (1930)
Dedicated to Xiehou (Huang Xiayi, 1885-1943)
NOTE: Wang Lipei, a native of Xiangxiang, Hunan Province, was a well-known collector of books during the Republic period. In the late Qing Dynasty, he supported the Hundred Day's Reform (Wuxu Reform). After the Reform failed, he fled to Japan and joined Tongmenghui (Chinese Revolutionary Alliance).
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Huang Xiayi (1885-1943), a native of Dongguan, Guangdong province, was an important and well-known revolutionary in Chinese modern history. He joined Tongmenghui with his like-minded friends such as Lin Zhimian (1888-1934) and was involved in the Guangzhou New Army Uprising and Yellow Flower Mound Uprising, among others. After the founding of the Republic of China, he was appointed the first county mayor of Dongguan County. He was later appointed Director of the Guangdong Provincial Taxation Bureau, Fujian Provincial Tobacco and Liquor Tax Director, and the 19th Route Army Major General. At the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937, Huang returned to Dongguan. In 1943, he died in an airstrike launched by Japanese during an inspection in Shaoguan, Guangdong.
Intellectuals frequently interacted with artists during the early period of the Republic. Many intellectuals participated in creating and collecting Chinese paintings and calligraphy, and Huang was one of them. In 1924 and 1925, the Guihai Cooperative Painting Society was formed by leading artists of the Lingnan region and held two fundraising exhibitions to promote and study traditional Chinese painting. These two exhibitions presented approximately 800 works including around 200 collaborative works.
Some of the works offered here were likely purchased from the abovementioned exhibitions. They allow us to witness the development of traditional Chinese painting in the Lingnan region during the early 20th century. They also represent extraordinary aesthetic value and historical significance.