Chapter 363: Calligraphy contest?
In the backyard, the smell of ink was in the air.
The sweet smell of Xuan paper also lingered in the air.
"Yo, Mr Liu."
"Master Chen is here too, where did you come from?"
"I came over from Shanghai. It's Old Master Wei's birthday, so I can't not come."
They were all people from the same circle, so they were familiar with each other. The old friends began chatting heartily, looking like they had not seen each other in a long time.
In the corner, only Zhang Ye was standing there alone. Many people saw him, but did not know who he was. Because he looked rather young and was strangely wearing shades, no one bothered about him. As Su Na was ushered by her father to greet his friends, Wu Zeqing was still chatting with her friends, Zhang Ye found a chair and sat down. Since he had not had his breakfast, he tried out some of the refreshments on the table. It was actually quite tasty, so he poured himself a cup of hot tea and crossed his legs back relaxingly. He started munching on some sunflower seeds, fully making himself feel at home.
"Who is this person?"
"Don't seem to know him."
"Whose family member is he? Is he that hungry?"
"I think I saw him come in with Teacher Su's daughter."
"Old Su's son-in-law? No way, I am old friends with Old Su, so how can I not have seen this kid? Little Na Na isn't married either. so it can't be."
A few people looked at Zhang Ye with askance.
Zhang Ye felt like he was too flamboyant, so with a cough, he stopped eating.
It was unknown when Wu Zeqing walked over. Today, she was dressed in a beige qipai. The red flowers that adorned her dress were very eye-catching. She had been wearing a qipao with a sweater of coat draped over her. Her high heels were beige in color to match her qipao, making her look extremely alluring.
"You were eating?" Wu Zeqing gave a faint smile.
Zhang Ye beamed and stood up. "I didn't eat this morning, so I was hungry."
Wu Zeqing lowered her hands, "Just carry on eating. It's alright."
Zhang Ye said, "If I knew today was the Calligraphy Association's anniversary, I wouldn't have come. I'm not someone from this circle. I don't really know much about calligraphy. If I knew this early, I would have given you a birthday present privately. Unfortunately, I didn't have time this morning, so I didn't bring anything."
Wu Zeqing gently smiled. "There's no need for presents. It's alright if you do not know calligraphy. Inviting you here was to let you enter this circle. You are a person of literature, so knowing more people won't hurt. Hur Hur. Alright, carry on eating. I'll go greet a few old friends."
More people came from outside.
Wu Zeqing walked over with a smile.
After a short while, almost everyone had arrived.
"Everyone, may I have your attention please. Hur Hur." At this moment, a very famous calligrapher spoke. He gathered the people over and said, "Today is the 31st anniversary of the Calligraphy Association. I would like to thank everyone for their participation and well-wishes. I've been writing all my life, so I'm not good with words, so I'll keep it short. I think it's best we go by the old rules. Let's have a short competition to kick off auspiciously before having our meal. How about that?"
"As you wish."
"Haha, another competition?"
"Master Zhou, what's the auspicious item about this year?"
Everyone had expected this and asked with smiles.
There was no lack of this segment in every year's Calligraphy Association gathering.
The old calligrapher, Master Zhou, curved his mouth and waved to his two disciples by his side. He got them to open up a piece of calligraphy. "I'll incur ridicule first. This is the calligraphy piece I wrote last year. Now it shall be used as an auspicious item. Same old rules, whoever wins gains this auspicious item!"
Master Zhou's work?
This year's item sure cost an arm and a leg!
Everyone knew the most ordinary piece of calligraphy produced by Master Zhou could be auctioned off for tens of thousands. If it was a good piece of calligraphy, such as this long calligraphy piece, it could be auctioned off for at least a hundred thousand. There was no upper limit, for if someone really liked it, they would be willing to pay hundreds of thousands for it!
"Elder Zhou sure is generous!"
"Then we won't stand on ceremony!"
Everyone were eager to try as they coveted it.
Su Na left her father's side and walked over to Zhang Ye.
"Teacher Su." Zhang Ye was also surprised to see that calligraphy piece. "Who is that?"
Su Na nearly fainted. "Ah? You don't even know Master Zhou? He is one of the few remaining master calligraphers still alive. You really don't care about anything outside of the entertainment industry, do you?"
Zhang Ye praised, "This piece of work is too artistic!"
Su Na said, "Of course. Just Master Zhou's name would cause calligraphy lovers to come in droves. Even a draft would be worth a considerable amount."
After eating a hundred Calligraphy Skillbooks, Zhang Ye's appreciation and understanding of calligraphy had been greatly upgraded. He knew the piece of work in front of his eyes was no ordinary piece of work. It was much better than the words written by President Wu back then. It could even be said to be on different realms. President Wu's standard may be high and was famous in the industry, but Wu Zeqing was, after all, not a professional in this. She just had calligraphy as her hobby, while her career for in the foreground. However, Master Zhou was different. He was a professional. He had spent all his life studying just calligraphy, so their standards were naturally different!
Su Na leered at him, "You also like this piece of work?"
"Yea." Zhang Ye only found the piece of work very good, but did not have other thoughts. His mind was not in the field of calligraphy. Without any exaggeration, this piece of art was inferior to Wu Zeqing's naked 'artistic pictures' to Zhang Ye. Those pictures were more real and empowering!
What a bunch of losers!
They really do not know art!
Seeing the ugly expressions of these people desperately wanting a crappy piece of art, this fellow, Zhang Ye looked down on them. You guys aren't even looking at Wu Zeqing's beautiful full legs and her ample breasts that nearly tear her qipao apart. What kind of art are you looking even looking at? It's no wonder people who made a living in art would die alone. Can you be a bit more promising? A mountain of gold is in front of you, yet you don't know?
Zhang Ye believed he was a person who truly knew art. Hence, he retracted his gaze from the calligraphy piece and moved it onto Wu Zeqing's legs. He peeked at her white legs through the slit in the qipao.
Su Na did not notice the direction in which Zhang Ye was looking, and said, "I really want this calligraphy piece."
Zhang Ye asked nonchalantly, "Are you participating in the competition too?"
"No way. My calligraphy is terrible. All I know is what I was forced to learn by my Dad when I was young. I stopped practicing since then. As for my Dad, he might have some hope." Su Na felt enthusiastic.
Zhang Ye thought to himself. Man, not another one who doesn't know true art...
Many people present had eyes filled with insatiable thirst.
Master Zhou immediately announced, "Alright, I shall be this year's judge. Everyone should be okay with that, right? Hur Hur, then let this year's competition exchange begin..."
Suddenly, the birthday boy, Old Master Wei, who was sitting on an armchair, spoke. As he stroked his beard, he smiled and said, "Old Zhou, hold on a moment."
Master Zhou smiled and said, "What's the matter, Old Wei?"
Master Wei joked, "You old fogey sure aren't particular. Half a year ago, I saw this calligraphy piece at your home. Back then, I wanted it, and was even willing to exchange something for it, but you adamantly refused to give it to me. What's the matter now? Now you are taking it out? You sure aren't giving your old friend face. We have been friends for decades." After a pause, he carried on. "No way. This calligraphy piece has to be mine. Today is my birthday, so I'll just take advantage of my seniority. I hope everyone will give this old man some face. Can this calligraphy piece be acceded to me?"
"The birthday boy is biggest today."
"Old Master Wei, don't try robbing it from us juniors. Haha."
The crowd said all sorts of things, nor was there any harsh tones in their words. It was just a form of entertainment. Although it was a competition, it was not meant to hurt feelings.
Master Zhou was amused as he motioned his hand. "That won't do Old Wei. We may be friends, but I have already announced my intentions. I can't just rescind them, right? Since you want it, you can also participate in it. Furthermore, you are not the only one who is celebrating their birthday. Little Wu's birthday is today too. If I give it to you, what about Little Wu?" After some thought, he said, "Let's do it this way. I'll give a suggestion. With the two birthday stars in consideration, this competition should be split into two teams. Old Wei will lead one team, while Little Wu will lead another. Whichever team's combined calligraphy prowess defeats the other, the auspicious gift will be their's. It could be either Old Wei or Little Wu. I'll just treat it as a birthday gift. What does everyone think about it?"
Old Master Wei pointed at him, "You sure became craftier with age."
Master Zhou was an old friend of his, so he spoke casually with him. "It has to be fair. If it's just a individual competition, with you having written calligraphy all your life, you will definitely win. There will be no suspense, nor will there be any meaning behind it. A competition must have some suspense."
Everyone thought over it, but did not have any opinions
"I'm fine with anything."
"Haha, this will be interesting."
"Alright, we'll follow Master Zhou's arrangement!"
"Old Master Wei, let me be added to your team."
"Count me in too. Since Old Master Wei is insistent on winning, I must contribute a bit."
Everyone coveted Master Zhou's calligraphy piece, but they all knew themselves. Even quite a famous calligrapher like Su Na's father knew he was no match for Master Wei. Since the birthday boy wanted it that much, they would not be able to get it, nor was there any chances for them. Of course, they would not be able to fight it out. He was celebrating his birthday, and was an old senior in the industry. Although Master Wei's calligraphy skills were far inferior to Master Zhou, his seniority was an advantage that could suppress everyone else. So no one wanted to compete with Master Wei, or they would appear too aloof. Hence, Master Zhou's suggestion made everyone find it very interesting.
The two birthday stars would lead teams in a competition?
Wu Zeqing versus Master Wei? The winner gets the auspicious item?
Immediately, quite a number of people stood behind Master Wei. Soon, there were dozens.
Father Su also laughed out loudly. "Then let me join in." Saying that, he entered Master Wei's team.
Wu Zeqing had no one on her side. However, she was not angry, and was her usual gentle self. She gave a slight smile and said, "All of you are bullying my lack of qualifications."
Master Wei joked, "Little Wu, I think you should just give up. After I receive Old Zhou's piece, I'll lend it to you for two days before you return it to me."
Wu Zeqing smiled and said, "That wouldn't be good. Master Zhou's calligraphy is rarely seen, especially such a long piece of calligraphy. I also truly want it. It happens that I'm lacking such a piece of art at home."