Lot 650 Ravenel Autumn Auction 2022 Taipei

Ravenel Autumn Auction 2022 Taipei

Prelude to Water Melody (A Set of Five)

PU TZU (Bu Zi) (Taiwanese, 1959 - 2013)


Ink on paper

240 x 265 cm


TWD 340,000-550,000

HKD 84,000-136,000

USD 10,800-17,400

CNY 76,000-123,000

Sold Price

TWD 960,000

HKD 244,275

USD 31,383

CNY 220,690


Signed PU Tzu in Chinese
With one seal of the artist

PROVENANCE Moon Gallery, Taichung Acquired from the above by the present owner

ILLUSTRATED Solo exhibition of Bu Zi, Moon Gallery, Taichung, 2008
This lot is to be sold with a certificate of authenticity issued by Moon Gallery, Taichung.



In the realm of Chinese calligraphy, the cursive script is the most expressive form. If one compares a poem to a music score, calligraphy could be regarded as an artist's interpretation and performance of the piece. Zhang Huai-quan of the Tang dynasty once claimed that expressiveness dominates over its form in calligraphy. Pu Tzu further proposed that the myriad interpretations of calligraphy give weight, fluidity and steadiness in an art form. Under such theory, calligraphy is more than an expressive tool, but the reinterpretation of the calligrapher and those of the audience. It is a combination of visual, emotion and aesthetic qualities. Such revelations suggest a pioneering vision in the art history of calligraphy.

This calligraphy depicted an excerpt of the Prelude to Water Melody in an expressive manner, allowing it to be considered as one of Pu Tzu's important calligraphy works. The poem depicts Su Shi's conflicting emotions while he was appreciating the full moon during the Mid-Autumn festival. Feeling deflated from work, the poet drank wine with the moon, proposing a journey to heaven at the same time fearing over the unknown realm. In the end, he chose to stay in reality by proposing a dance with the moon.

As an all-round calligrapher, Pu Tzu practiced Zhen, cursive, clerical and seal scripts. He believed that calligraphy should not be a playground for artists, but an interpretation of a poem. It is a balance of the meaning between the lines and artistic expression. In this work, Pu chose cursive script as a modern form of expressing the free will personality of Su Shi. One line of the poem writes, "I wish to ride on the wind towards heaven, but I fear the chill up there. Here I can dance with my own shadows. Where else can I find such delight?" In this poem "I wish", "But I fear" and "Where else" depict the internal struggles of the poet. From the imaginative heaven, confronting his fear and back to reality with self-reassurance, the choice of words highlights the three stages of emotions. Looking back at Pu Tzu's work, a strong fluid structure poses stark contrast with the intertwined strokes. Ink rages through the panel in an expressive way, as a dominant signature of Pu's works. From the choice of script, to the expressive form, to the choice of poem, the work was constructed as a respect to the poet in its genuine representation. As for the three crucial turning points in the poem, the brush slowed at the words "I wish", showing the poet's wild proposal with a hint of uncertainty. "But I fear" was depicted with intertwined space in its strokes, highlighting his self-doubt. "Where else" was depicted with the Chinese character "he" in a conformed running script, showing a determined decision made, while "si" was depicted in expressive cursive, highlighting his frolicking life on Earth, an anesthesia for his troubles. Through Pu Tzu's individual interpretation in his work, the poem is enlivened in the modern world.

In recent years, Pu Tzu's works performed at their peak in the art market through auctions in Ravenel. In 2021, a calligraphy work reached a whopping NT$ 1,560,000 at Ravenel Spring sale, while the work in red ink achieved NT$ 1,320,000 in the Autumn sale. Such astounding performance shows the strong affection of collectors towards the artist's works.

Related Info

Refined Brushwork: Ink Paintings and Works of Art

Ravenel Autumn Auction 2022 Taipei

Saturday, December 3, 2022, 1:00pm