have been numerous talented artists throughout the history
of Chinese painting. They have produced countless magnificent
paintings that have contributed to the excellent Chinese
culture. But most of the great artists throughout the
ages have tended to specialize in one particular skill,
style, or subject matter. Those who excelled at landscape
painting were rarely proficient in flower and bird painting.
Those who were proficient in flower and bird painting
were rarely adept at figure painting; and so on and so
forth. H.H. Dorje
Chang Buddha III (Master Wan Ko Yee),
however, is proficient in all subject matters—whether
landscape, flowers and birds, animals, fish, insects,
or figures. With respect to artistic techniques, he has
excelled at meticulous painting, freehand brushwork, splash-ink
style, and many others. In all of these areas, His Holiness
has demonstrated real traditional skills and originality.
These characteristics of His Holiness’s paintings
have long ago been confirmed by art experts and collectors.
In 2000, paintings by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III entitled
“Majesty” and “Venerable Da Li Won”
sold at an international auction for US$2,125,327 and US$2,207,912,
respectively. At that time, those sales set new records
for the highest priced painting of any living oriental artist
in the world as well as the highest priced Chinese paintings
ever sold at an auction. Various media reported on those
two sales and praised H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III as a consummate
artist who is unprecedented in the history of Chinese painting.
||Venerable Da Li Won
In 2007, a painting by His Holiness of lotus flowers entitled
“Two Flowers; One Lotus Capsule; One Dharma Nature”
sold for U.S.$300,000 per square foot. That painting contains
His Holiness’s signature in the form of the two Chinese
characters “Wan Ko” His Holiness’s fingerprint,
and His Holiness’s calligraphy and paintings seal.
A plum blossom painting by His Holiness sold for U.S.$210,000
per square foot. That painting contains His Holiness’s
signature in the form of the two Chinese characters “Wan
Ko” and His Holiness’s fingerprint. There is
another painting by His Holiness entitled “Pasture
in Spring (A Sheppard Boy Herding Cattle).” On that
painting His Holiness inscribed in Chinese characters “Dorje
Chang Buddha III Wan Ko Yeshe Norbu.” That painting
also contains His Holiness’s fingerprint and dharma
king seal. It truly is a rare and precious work of art.
Although an offer was made to purchase that painting for
U.S.$540,000 per square foot, that offer was lower than
the selling price set by the International Buddhism
Sangha Association of U.S.$900,000 per square foot. Thus,
the sale was not consummated.
In his art, H.H. Dorje
Chang Buddha III has indeed assimilated the essence
of traditional Chinese painting. Not only has His Holiness
learned from the painting traditions of Song, Yuan, Ming,
and Qing dynasty scholars, His Holiness has also easily
mastered the grand and vigorous style of pre-Song dynasty
painting. Yet, H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III has not merely
emulated the techniques of any one painter or any one school.
His Holiness has learned from ancient artistry and has also
learned from nature. Combining the two, His Holiness has
created a novel and unique style of his own. From a careful
examination of paintings by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III,
it is not difficult to see the legacy of tradition and the
spirit of originality. The paintings of previous generations
of Chinese artists cannot match His Holiness’s paintings.
H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha
III has painted many different styles of Chinese paintings.
Based upon these different styles, we have selected for
your appreciation a very limited amount of contrasting paintings
created by His Holiness.