Iron painting tiehua
An iron painting depicting a landscape setting of dense pine trees growing from the edges of cliffs among clouds; the front view is filled in with two branches of pine trees. The upper right-hand corner is inscribed with a poem originally written by Chairman Mao Zedong, following an inscription stating that this iron painting was created in December 1964. A rectangular mark in red at the end of the inscription reads Tie Hua (meaning ‘iron painting’). Another red mark in a square at the lower left corner of the painting reads Wu Hu Gong Yi (‘crafts from Wuhu’). The landscape, inscriptions and marks are all made of wrought iron elements, which are crafted individually and joined together with bolts. The scene is contained within a hardwood frame.
The art of iron painting was developed in Wuhu city of Anhui province in the late 17th century. According to Jenyns and Watson: “…T’ang T’ien-ch’ih, an iron worker, set the example by vying with the painter Hsiao Yun-ts’ung in depicting landscape.”1 The subject matter depicted here echoes the poem inscribed on the upper right-hand corner. The poem, consisting of four phrases with seven Chinese characters each, (known as Qijue), can be translated as follows “Amid the growing shades of dusk stand sturdy pines / Riotous clouds sweep past, swift and tranquil / Nature has excelled herself in the Fairy Cave / On perilous peaks dwells beauty in her infinite variety.” This poem was written by Chairman Mao Zedong (1893 – 1976) on 9th September 1961, with the title ‘The Fairy Cave- Inscription on a Picture Taken by Comrade Li Jin – a Qijue’; it was first published in The Poems of Mao Zedong in 1963. The title refers to a poem written for a photograph taken by Li Jin, also known as Jiang Qing (1914 – 1991), the third wife of Mao. The pine tree enhances the scholarly theme, as it is a symbol of longevity. A set of four 18th century iron paintings representing the seasons are in the collection of the British Museum, one of which is illustrated by Jenyns. A set of four further comparable iron paintings dated to the 17th century was included in the exhibition, The Chinese Scholar’s Studio: Artistic Life in the Late Ming Period from the Shanghai Museum in 1987.
1 Jenyns, R.S. and Watson, W. Chinese Art, Vol. II, Phaidon, Oxford, 1980, p. 104
2 Jenyns, R.S. and Watson, W. op. cit., p.104
3 Li, C. T. and Watt, J. C.Y. eds., The Chinese Scholar’s Studio: Artistic Life in the Late Ming Period-An Exhibition from the Shanghai Museum, Thames and Hudson, New York, 1987, pp. 120-121, no. 68
鐵畫 《七絕 ● 為李進同志題所攝廬山仙人洞照》
高：84.5 公分 寬：45.5 公分
長方形鐵畫，裱於木框。畫面左下半部飾以蒼鬱勁松，枝幹挺立，針葉茂密張揚。後襯遠景山崖陡 峭，雲氣托山，惟松林仍屹立其上，恣意蔓延。右上方題詩一首：「暮色蒼茫看勁松，亂雲飛渡仍 從容。天生一個仙人洞，無限風光在險峰。」再書：「毛主席詩詞，一九六四年試作。」此首《七 絕 ●為李進同志題所攝廬山仙人洞照》是毛澤東1961年9月9日為江青（即李進）拍攝的照片所寫， 最早發表於人民文學出版社1963年12月版的《毛主席詩詞》裡。仙人洞，在廬山佛手岩下，牯岭 之西，高約兩丈，深廣各三四丈，傳為唐朝仙人呂洞賓所居，故名。本詩通過對勁松和仙人洞的生 動描寫，寓理於景。此幅鐵畫則以精湛工藝，以鐵為墨，以砧為紙，鍛鐵為畫，細膩重現出詩中深 遠寓意，氣韻生動。題辭下方嵌「鐵畫」朱書長方款，畫面左下角嵌「蕪湖工藝」朱書方款，指明 本畫自安徽蕪湖出品。安徽蕪湖鐵畫於清康熙年間自成一體，至今工藝仍享譽國際。本畫詩畫藝兼 備，定年確切，實為難得。大英博物館與上海博物館皆有鐵畫收藏。