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Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 5842
Experience:  Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
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Would like an appraisal on a Chinese water color on silk

Customer Question

Would like an appraisal on a Chinese water color on silk
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Antiques
Expert:  Doris replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is Doris.
I have been an antiques collector, dealer and appraiser for over 56 years.
I will be pleased to help you.

Please tell me the dimensions of your watercolor not including the frame. Please do not remove it from the frame.

Kind regards,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
14" x 11 "
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The frame is also very old
Expert:  Doris replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the information and photos.

Please allow me time to research the data required by your question, calculate current values and write my answer.

I should be back within 40 minutes.

I thank you for your patience.

Kind regards,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you just don't know how to read the writing and or signature and date the last photo is upside down
Expert:  Doris replied 1 year ago.

I will not be able to read the Chinese characters but I will be able to compare to similar paintings and give you a value.

If you need someone to read the characters, I am not sure anyone on this site can.

But I can release your question if you wish so that one of the other pros can try to read the Chinese.

Kind regards,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My understanding is that the red character is a date the rest is the artist signature and title of painting
Expert:  Doris replied 1 year ago.

I will release your question so that all the other professionals can choose to answer you with accuracy.
I want you to have the best answer possible. Releasing your question is called "opting-out." I will not be able to respond to you once I opt-out.
I am very sorry.

Kind regards,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I appreciate your help
If you can put an age and similar paintings that would help me
Expert:  Robert S. replied 1 year ago.

Hi! My name is ***** ***** I would be happy to help with your Chinese painting.

The composition is quite a typical one of vernacular buildings in a valley beside a peaceful lake with a backdrop of forested hills and mountains. Each of the elements of the painting are rendered in a particular 'shorthand' using the conventions of Chinese landscape painting as set out by a universal manual of painting and drawing called the Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden published in 1679 in Nanjing by the artist Wang Gai. The manual set down exactly how to draw and paint figures, boats, rocks, trees etc together with a poetic inscription or title, and artist signature, so that the effect of traditional gentleman scholar paintings could be achieved.

Yours looks like it dates to the 1920s or 1930s. The inscription top left reads (right to left)


"Lake as level as a mirror"

子英 "Zi Yīng" (the name of the artist)
画訖 "completed painting"

The red stamp is the artist's seal.

Unfortunately almost none of these early Chinese Republic period artists are listed 'names' or have any collector following, even in China. This work was done specifically for export to the west to satisfy an almost unlimited demand for furnishing art that would add to or enhance an Oriental décor.

They still have decorative value and of course are original works of art, which elevates them from the ordinary print or photolithograph. If you saw yours for sale in an antique store it would be priced at about $150. This is also the replacement value for insurance purposes.

I do hope this helps!

Best wishes,

PS. If there's anything more I can help you with on this, please don't hesitate to ask. If not, could you very kindly rate my services (with the stars or "accept" button) as this is how I get paid by JustAnswer at no extra cost to you. We can still continue to communicate here on this thread after you do. And if you have another item you'd like to ask me about, just start a new Question and put "For Robert S....." in the subject line. Thanks, R.