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T: Wen-chin H: Ching-an Tai Chin was from Ch'ien-t'ang, Chechiang province, and eventually settled in Hangchou. His talent as a painter was recognized early in his life, but through what appears to have been considerable envy from powerful adversaries, he was unable to sustain a position at court. At one time, around 1425, he was summoned to court, but soon returned to his home province. His landscapes are in the styles of Ma Yüan and Hsia Kuei, but show greater complexity of depth and composition. He is regarded as the principal master of the Che School. This large scroll, originally badly mounted, was discovered by Cahill in an auction in which one would not expect to find major works by major artists. After identifying the genuine Tai Chin seal, which had been covered by brocade, Cahill began working more carefully on the authenticity of the painting. Indeed it was a Tai Chin seal, corresponding to one on a famous painting in Shanghai. Then I began working on style. I didn't believe that it could be Tai Chin for a time, but the more I looked, the better it was." Cahill had the painting remounted and during this time discovered, with the help of the well-known dealer and connoisseur Cheng Chi, that the painting had a title in the upper right consistent with a known painting in the famous sixteenth-century collection of the wicked Prime Minister Yen Sung. Cheng Chi theorized that the owner's seal had been cut off when the official was overthrown for political reasons. "In any case, it is a major Tai Chin and I realized later when looking at it that it corresponds very nicely with a [noted] painting in Shanghai. It has become one of the masterworks of the artist partly because of the large size and the very impressive composition based loosely on the Kuo Hsi painting Early Spring (1072).
Painting Hanging scroll: ink on silk China h 78 x w 42 -1/8 inches