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Oberlin Club of Washington, DC: The Art of Copying vs. Forgery in Chinese Brush Painting

Oberlin Club of Washington, DC: The Art of Copying vs. Forgery in Chinese Brush Painting

PHOTO CAPTION: Painting by Bada Shanren, forged (the one on top) and the original (the one on bottom)


"The Art of Copying vs. Forgery in Chinese Brush Painting: Examples from the Freer Gallery Collection"

A Zoom Presentation by Carole Yee, Docent

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Traditionally, a student of Chinese brush painting learns by copying the paintings of the masters. By copying, the student learns to look in detail at every brush stroke, dot, and line. Copying is done with great reverence to the master. By copying, the student learns not just the technique but the master’s character.

In the past, copying the original, including the signature and seal, was an accepted practice. Therefore, the question of original copy vs. forgery has a different context in Chinese brush painting. The Freer Gallery has Chinese brush paintings clearly given attribution to the master, others copied in the style of the master’s work, and works which are clear forgeries. A question to be discussed is whether one should appreciate a copy of a master’s painting any less than the original. Insight into the importance of copying techniques and appreciation of such creations are the subject of the tour by Carole Yee.

Carole Yee is a docent at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M Sackler Gallery of Art, now known as the National Museum of Asian Art. She has been a student of Chinese brush painting for over 30 years. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her paintings, and currently serves on the board as the treasurer of the Sumi-e Society of America, Inc, the largest national Asian brush painting society in the U.S. She retired from the National Institutes of Health as a biomedical researcher.

For further information, contact Clyde Owan ’79 at: clydeobie@verizon.net.

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Oberlin Club of Washington, DC: The Art of Copying vs. Forgery in Chinese Brush Painting

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