Which Is Genuine? Which Is a Fake?
On Zhou Leyuan's Works
Author: Long Xiaoyun

How can one outstanding artist be famous around the world? The main reason is his superb skill. It has nothing to do with his opportunities and social status.
Zhou Le Yuan, was an excellent artist in the Qing Dynasty, some 200 years ago. Some works painted by him are displayed in western museum. 
The subjects of his works were wide ranging, such as, landscapes, Chinese characters, flowers-and-birds and calligraphy, etc. All works by him were fine quality and of the highest standards.

 
genuine

His flowers-and-birds works were mainly freehand brushwork in traditional Chinese painting and landscape, mainly cracked and dyed. The main color hue of his works were pastels, with accents in mainly red, white and green.  
The calligraphy of his bottles were mainly of the Xingshu style (a style of writing, lines easy and smooth). So many imitations of his works appeared. How do you discern the false from the genuine?   
One must study Zhou's style, such as his technique of writing or drawing, cracking and dying, the drawing of the line etc. Some false works used old bottles. If you  only pay attention on the material and bottle shape, you can't tell which is genuine or false. A modern painter can easily imitate his design like putting new wine in an old bottle, But the calligraphy would not be of the same quality. So I think think to discern between the genuine and fake, you should examine the writing first.  

Let's use look at one example

genuine                                       fake

Firstly, in drawing the line, the genuine piece is perfect, and the picture connects with the writing harmoniously. But in the fake, the writing was placed in the middle, which isn't harmonious. So when  distinguishing the fake from the genuine, we can't neglect the whole or the part.we should pay attention to all aspects.        
Secondly, on the line which has the cracking and dying, the ink line of the genuine is paler, and the cracking method connects with ink line perfectly. But the fake is the opposite. The gap is obviously too much.  

      

      genuine            fake

The quality of the fake calligraphy is not only poor, but the place of inscribing is also not correct. Even if some artist tries his best to imitate his style, he can't get his standard right yet. I don't think that Zhou Leyuan, an outstanding artist, would inscribe in an improper place.

If you think that I've made a misstatement or that you disagree, please send your comments.  Thank you
Yu Yuan Grass Hall
, 1999.