I had originally admired the above Chinese ink drawing not only because the depiction of rocks and trees and water and perspective were so artistically arranged on the page, but also because of the poems and passages and what I thought were gleaned nuggets of Tang Dynasty poetry, plus the rather liberal use of different red seals. I found out about 10 days ago that the textual part of the page are comments and praises from various rich patrons of the arts. By including celebrity donors messages on one's artwork, one immediately adds value to it.
So much for idyllic drawings assembled with words of praise about so-and-so-place near Guilin or other places with gumdrop hills (karsts) or spiky icicle ridge land forms. I thought: This painting is an assemblage. Scour the literature and public media for those gem-like passages that inspire. According to one website, "Many Chinese paintings are covered with stamps. These are from artists and scholars who liked what they saw and left their seals as testimony of their approval. They are kind of like artistic applause."
Needles to say, I was more than pinpricked in my startled realization to learn the true story behind this type of celebratory commercial artwork. But, then again, nowadays we have Facebook Like, comment sections for bloggits, and Flattr donations to encourage individuals and projects. But then also again, the endorsement or praise is not plastered onto the appreciated object itself.
One question I still have is whether the patrons themselves wrote their comments directly onto the painting or whether they dictated them to the artist who worked it into a space on the painting.