Synopses & Reviews
The Shu Hua Shuo Ling--a treatise on painting and forgery--was written in the eighteenth century by the relatively obscure Chinese scholar, Lu Shih-hua. It might have vanished from the landscape of Asian art history, had the eminent Sinologue, R. H. van Gulik, not recognized its essential value to our modern understanding of Chinese connoisseurship. Its worth lies in the intellectual honesty of the author in his description of the artist, his motivations and the criteria by which his work was evaluated in traditional China. Of particular interest is Lu's observations on the issue of authenticity. One wonders what chance we have to determine the authenticity of a work today, when even those with profound knowledge of the artists, their styles and work in the eighteenth century were challenged to do likewise. One also leaves Lu's treatise wondering if authenticity, as we define it, matters as much as we might lead ourselves to believe.