HK$400m ‘Wood and Rock’ by Chinese Literati Master Su Shi Appears in Hong Kong

The masterpiece by Chinese literati Master Su Shi was officially unveiled at Christie’s in Hong Kong yesterday. The painting Wood and Rock, one of the world’s rarest Chinese paintings, is going to lead Christie’s Hong Kong Autumn Sale. It is estimated at HK$400m (US$51m).

Part of the Wood and Rock by Su Shi

The room was full of people 

Left: Kim Yu, International Senior Specialist, Chinese Paintings Department; right: Jonathan Stone, Chairman, Asian Art;

To mark the historic unveiling of this priceless cultural treasure, Christie’s sent out four spokespersons: Rebecca Wei, (President, Christie’s Asia), Jonathan Stone (Co-Chairman of Asian Art of Christie’s), Kim Yu (International Senior Specialist, Chinese Paintings Department) and Sophia Zhou (Junior Specialist, Chinese Paintings Department).

Colophon by Mi Fu (left) and colophon by Liu Liangzuo (right)

Colophon Guo Chang (left) and colophon by Yuxilu (right)

It’s been nearly a thousand years since Su Shi painted this work. It belonged to numerous collectors before it became part of the private collection of a Japanese collector in 1930s. It has since then passed down in the family.

According to specialist Kim Yu, after the New York autumn sales last year, the current owner contacted the auction house about consigning the piece. They didn’t realise it was something of great historic value until they saw photod of the painting. They decided to pay a visit to Kansai, Japan and looked at the piece in person.

Many may wonder why this painting with a history of almost 1000 years is still preserved in such a good condition. As Yu explained, handscrolls like the present painting are seldom fully unfolded. For anyone who wants to appreciate the work, they have to lay it out on the table and look at it by sections. This practice helps keep the piece intact.

How should one appreciate this painting of such tremendous historic and artistic value? What’s the story of the painter Su Shi? To answer all your questions, The Value talked to specialists and asked them to shed light on the issue. Please stay tuned for our video!

Visitors who would like to take a look at the painting in person, seize the viewing opportunity as Wood and Rock will be on public display today and tomorrow at Christie’s in Hong Kong.    


Su Shi (1037-1101)’s Wood and Rock. Handscroll, ink on paper

Auction house: Christie’s Hong Kong
Preview: 31 August - 1 September 2018|10am - 5pm
Preview location: Christie’s Hong Kong, 22/F, Alexandra House, 18 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong
Auction date: 2018/11/26
Size: 26.3 x 50cm (Image), 26.3 x 185.5cm (painting and colophons), 27.2 x 543cm (overall with mounting)
Colophon: Liu Liangzuo (11th century), Mi Fu (1051-1107), Yu Xilu (1278-1368), Guo Chang (1563-1622)
Collector’s seals: 41
Estimate: HK$400,000,000