Chapter 204: Lu Xun's Appraisal Skills
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: GaiaNove
Initially, Liu Ling wanted to tell Elder Tian about the matter, but upon recalling how the other party interrupted his words, he decided not to say anything for fear of incurring his irritation.
"Since both of you are fine with it, Tian Gang, bring that painting over." After saying this, Elder Tian gestured.
Soon, Tian Gang came over with a large but thin box in his embrace.
"This is the painting Liu shi has gifted me. I believe it is fitting of the word 'perfect.' No matter how many times I look at it, I can't help but compliment it. Today, you'll have the blessing to view the work of an incredible master!"
Elder Tian chuckled as he took out the painting from within the box.
"I really hope that I can meet a master painter of this caliber before my death and witness his extraordinary skills."
Stroking the painting in his hands, respect gleamed in Elder Tian's eyes.
There were many similarities between tea brewing and painting. Due to this, he also held a fervent passion for painting. Even though he had yet to reach the level of master, he was still quite knowledgeable in the field.
"Alright, I'll stop talking. I'll let you guys see the painting now. Zhuang Xian, Zheng Fei, since you two are skilled in painting as well, you should give your opinions on it too."
He carefully unrolled the painting. An ink painting immediately appeared before everyone's eyes.
A deer stood on a grass patch, eating the grass warily. Beautiful wild flowers bloomed throughout the surroundings, and for an instant, the spectators could really smell the scent of flowers.
Even though it was just a flat painting, the wild deer seemed like it would leap out of the painting at any moment.
"This is a painting of the fifth level?"
Right after taking a look, Lu Xun's eyes narrowed and his breathing quickened.
As someone from a distinguished painting family, he held a deep understanding of paintings. As such, he was able to see the ingenuity of the painting with a single glance.
The level of the painting was clearly beyond that of Breathtaking Verisimilitude.
Even when considering the entire Tianxuan Kingdom, it was possible that not a single painting of such caliber would be produced in the span of a century. Being able to appraise such a painting was a great honor for him.
Even a master painter like his father had never seen a painting of this level.
"Indeed, it is a painting of the fifth level. However, it is a pity that the painter didn't leave behind his name and the name of the painting. Otherwise, I would've surely paid him a visit personally!"
Elder Tian shook his head in regret. "Alright, let's start the appraisal now. Whoever's appraisal is more accurate and on point will be the victor. This time, the three master teachers and I will be the judges, so there is no need to doubt the fairness of the judgement. This time Zhang laoshi should go first."
Since Lu Xun was the one who spoke first last time, for the sake of fairness, Zhang Xuan should be the one to go first this time.
After Elder Tian finished speaking, the hall fell silent for a moment. He couldn't stop himself from looking in the direction of Zhang Xuan, only to see him staring at the painting with a dumbfounded look.
Seeing him in such a state, Elder Tian frowned.
A painting of the fifth level was profound, and it was easy for amateurs who didn't understand painting to lose themselves in the painting, unable to discern the painting aside from reality. Clearly, Zhang laoshi was suffering from such an effect.
How could a fellow who was unable to discern the painting from reality understand painting?
It seemed like he made the correct decision choosing to conduct a painting test. This Zhang laoshi shouldn't be a match for Lu Xun at all.
"Hmph! After boasting so much, it turns out that you are only on this level. Master painter? You must be joking!" Upon seeing Zhang Xuan losing himself in the painting, Tian Long sneered.
If Master Yuanyu's words had raised his doubts, seeing the fellow in such a state now made all of them vanish.
How could a true master painter be reduced to such a state upon seeing a painting of the fifth level?
He must have been too astonished by the sight that he lost himself.
"Zhang laoshi!" Elder Tian called.
"Yes!" Only then did Zhang Xuan recover from his trance. With a bizarre expression, he said, "There's no need. I'll allow Lu laoshi to go first. I will just listen to his appraisal first!"
"Alright, I will go first then. However, I hope that you won't find any excuses when you lose later on!"
Seeing how the other party didn't even have the courage to go first, Lu Xun became disdainful of Zhang Xuan.
This fellow must have thought that the painting before him was too profound, and he didn't know how he should appraise it. That's why he allowed Lu Xun to go first. Afterwards, he could just make up some comments based on Lu Xun's words.
You might have been able to use that move just then, but now that I'm prepared, how can I allow you to do so again?
Flicking his sleeves, Lu Xun walked to the middle of the hall. Absolute confidence exuded from his body.
"As a painting of the fifth level, this painting is left behind by a painting grandmaster. As such, I dare not claim to understand the painting fully, and if there're any mistakes in my appraisal, I'll be depending on everyone here to correct me!"
Walking forward to the painting, Lu Xun's eyes gleamed with the disposition unique to a master. "To appraise a painting of such level, you must slowly zoom in from outward, and slowly dive in from the details to its essence. Thus, I will first talk about the overall painting."
Back then, during the competition on tea brewing, he had only spoken of the name of the brewing technique and the tea aroma level, allowing a lot of leeway for the other party to perform. This time, in preparation against that, he intended to speak of all he could on the painting.
As long as I say everything that can be said, let's see what you will say later on!
Since you like to fake it so much, I will see how you can continue acting when there's nothing for you to say!
"Even though the painter hasn't left his name behind for this painting, it contains a deep artistic conception within it. With just a single look you can feel you are in a vast grassland, surrounded by flowers, and watching a wild deer calmly eating grass. My guess is that the grandmaster who painted this painting must have been standing in a vast grassland, taking in the spectacle and tranquility of the sight when inspiration struck him, resulting in the creation of this masterpiece."
"If a name should be given to it, I think that it should be Burnished Blue Skies!" Lu Xun said.
"Burnished Blue Skies? Not bad. That's an imposing name! I believe that it reflects the painter's state of mind then, awed by the sight before him!" Tian Long praised.
Did you see that?
That's a true master painter, being able to see through the essence of the painting at once, inducing lofty thoughts in others.
"After that, I will go on to speak about its contents and the painting technique used. Clearly, this painting was painted using the Double Hook technique. First, the painter drew the outline of the objects before painting in the grand artistry, filling in the colors of the flowers, grasses, and the wild deer. Only through this painting method can one create such a grand painting with such powerful artistry!"
Lu Xun's eyes were glowing.
"Double Hook technique? Don't you think that it is Dual Traversing Dragons instead?" Zhang Xuan couldn't stop himself from commenting.
"Dual Traversing Dragons? Do you even know what that means?"
Before Lu Xun could speak, Tian Long had already burst into laughter. "Dual Traversing Dragons is a technique that streetside craftsmen use when they're pressed for time. It is used for replicating a painting, and even so, only by replicating the same painting over and over again can one successfully replicate a painting down to the minute details. Yet, you say that this fifth level painting is created through such at technique? Haha, are you sure you understand anything about painting?"
Tian Long wasn't the only one who stared at Zhang Xuan in disdain, even Elder Tian couldn't help but shake his head.
Painting a painting of the fifth level through Dual Traversing Dragons? That was like saying one could display the strength of the powerful Dragon Subduing Palms through executing the basic Long Fists. Are you sure that you are a master painter and not a comedian?
"You sure have a vivid imagination!"
Lu Xun sneered. The contempt in his eyes deepened and his lips curled up in disdain. Disregarding the fellow who didn't know anything about painting, he turned to look at the painting again before continuing, "I have just spoken of the overall picture, so I'll touch on the details now. On this aspect, the grandmaster has drawn them with painstaking detail, making them incredibly lifelike. Looking at these flowers, you can clearly see the veins in them; as for the deer, you can actually make out the fur on its body. As such, even though the painter is a grandmaster, he likely took a minimum of two or three days to finish this painting.
"Only through slowly sculpting the details can one bring out the minute details perfectly and elegantly, making it impossible for the audience to find any fault with it. I must say that this master's patience is outstanding!"
Awe flashed in Lu Xun's eyes. After pacing in front of the painting, he added, "Last but not least, even though this painting has profound artistry, and the painter's name isn't left on it, based on my years of experience of appraising paintings, I can roughly guess his identity."
"Oh? You're able to guess his identity? Who is it?" Hearing his words, Zhang Xuan couldn't resist asking. The strange look on his face deepened as well.
Putting his hands behind his back, Lu Xun glanced upward, and with haughtiness and incredible confidence, he said, "There aren't more than seven masters in the surrounding kingdoms who are capable of painting such a grand and moving painting in the past century. Of the seven, only three of them have produced paintings of this sort in the past.
"And the three of them are, to wit, Senior Jin Mantang from Beiwu Kingdom; Senior Wu Jiechao from Hanwu Kingdom; and Senior Yun Shaoqing from Shenwu Kingdom."
"Senior Jin Mantang left behind his masterpiece at the Eighteen Zhang Waterfall, of which, the pine trees were painted with forceful strokes, giving the painting a prehistoric feeling. On this aspect, it felt extremely similar to how the wild deer and grassland were drawn, so he should be the most likely suspect. However, Senior Mantang passed away eighty years ago, and if he had left behind this painting, it would likely have been discovered by someone already. Thus, it is highly unlikely for him to be the painter.
"As for Senior Wu Jiechao, he specializes in painting animals. It's said that he once painted a white crane lying on the ground, and it attracted a flock of real cranes to wail for their companion's death, eventually dying from grief. Most likely, only someone of his level is capable of painting this wild deer.
"However, he only specializes in painting animals, not flora and fauna. Most probably, of the kingdoms nearby, the only one who can paint such an outstanding masterpiece is Senior Yun Shaoqing! More importantly, of the three grandmasters, he's the only one who is still alive."
"So my guess is that this drawing is a work of his."
At which, Lu Xun stood proudly as he looked at Elder Tian.
"Good, your analysis is in-depth and logical!"
Elder Tian applauded.
Did you see that? What is professionalism?
This is professionalism!
Not only was his analysis logical and backed by evidence, he was even able to deduce the likely painter of the work. As expected of Master Lu Chen's son, his knowledge and discernment were indeed outstanding. He would probably be the victor of this test.
"Alright, Zhang laoshi. It's your turn!"
After complimenting Lu Xun, Elder Tian turned to look at Zhang Xuan.
"It's my turn? Are you sure you want me to speak?" Zhang Xuan asked.
"Of course. Why, do you want to say that I've already said everything, and that there's nothing left to add?" The mockery in Lu Xun's eyes was clear.
"No Actually, I can't think of anything to say. After contemplating for a long time, I only have four words for it!" Zhang Xuan said.
"Four words?" Elder Tian and Lu Xun looked at him, perplexed.
Zhang Xuan scratched his head embarrassed. "If I'm not wrong I painted this painting!"
Library Of Heaven's Path Chapter 204
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