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Set of 5 Ming Dynasty Fresco Panels

China, early Ming Dynasty, circa 15th century

Pigments, gouache and gesso on linen mounted on stucco

Ex. Collection John Chin Young (Hawaii, 1907-1999)

36-1/2 x 13 inches for each panel and 41 x 17-3/8 framed.  

The overall framed size is 45-1/2 x 84 inches


This set, collected in 1936 in China, was the prized possession of the noted artist and collector John Young. Mr. Young amassed a very broad collection of antiques from numerous cultures. Prior to his passing in 1999, Mr. Young donated his collection which became the foundation of the John Young Museum of Art at the University of Hawaii.  These pieces were kept at Mr. Young's personal residence until his passing.


To find a set of frescoes from the early Ming Dynasty is a rare and remarkable event. On this set, the colors are bright and the swirling energy of the calligraphic paint strokes makes this a vivid reminder of the greatness of the works of art being created in China in the 15th century.


The style of painting dates to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) with a formula created by the painting master Wu Taozi whose paintings were so fine and filled with vitality that it was said that his figures could come to life.


There are also newspaper clippings with handwritten notation of 5/40  which indicate that the frescoes were exhibited at the Honolulu Academy of Arts in May and June of 1940. The photos of Mr. Young, the set of 5 paintings and Mr. Young's parents, who were visiting from China, were from a newspaper article from 1945 in the Honolulu Star Bulletin.


Set of 5 Chinese Ming Dynasty Fresco Panels ex. Private collection from 1936