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"Ah Q" Master Cartoonist Dies
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Cheng Shifa, a renowned master in Chinese ink paintings, most famous for depicting the character in The True Story of Ah Q, from Lu Xun's satirical novel, died of sickness at the age of 82 in Shanghai's Huadong Hospital on Tuesday.

According to Xinmin net news reports, Cheng Shifa was hospitalized in August 2005. Suffering from heart, lung and kidney failures, the Chinese painting master died while in a coma at 6:58 pm Tuesday.

Born in Shanghai in 1921, Cheng Shifa was well-recognized as a representative of "Shanghai Painting and Calligraphy", an important modern school of Chinese painting and calligraphy which had been developed from the rich tradition of Qing Dynasty paintings and calligraphy, strongly touching upon reality as well.

As president of Shanghai's Academy of Chinese Painting, Cheng Shifa had developed his great talent in serial paintings and illustrations in China despite his equally big achievement in figure paintings and bird and flower paintings.

Thanks to his unique styles and artistic quality, Cheng's painting works have been among the very best sellers in China's auction markets in recent years.

According to sources, the highest auction price of Cheng Shifa's works reached a record of 11 million yuan, or about 1.4 million dollars in 2005. Meanwhile, the price per square chi or every 13 square inches of Cheng Shifa's painting, rose from 7 thousand yuan in 2000 to 47 thousand yuan, or nearly 6,200 dollars in May, 2007.

Cheng Shifa, who visualized the household character in The True Story of Ah Q, died at the age of 82 in Shanghai on Tuesday, July 17, 2007. In the bottom right-hand corner of the picture is his signature.  

The work of Cheng Shifa painted in the early 1980's, costing 2.86 million yuan, or about 38 thousand dollars.

( July 18, 2007)

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