Mr. Teller has been a professional collector and dealer in Asian antiquities for more than 37 years. He has particularly nourished his passion for Chinese art since the late 1970s, when he first visited China. That passion also has led him to become a highly renowned resource in conservation, restoration, and documentation. His establishment of an extensively equipped science laboratory devoted to pure research on Asian antiquities represents the only onsite laboratory of any Asian art dealer. Mr. Teller’s business headquarters and central gallery is TK Asian Antiquities in Williamsburg, Virginia. This is also the site for the antiquities research laboratory, as well as some restoration and conservation work. One of TK’s other main galleries is in the prestigious Fuller Building in New York City and extensive restoration capabilities and gallery space are additionally located in China. Dali Dreamstones are the only twentieth-century creations that have truly captured his imagination, stimulated his curiosity, and evoked as strong an emotional response as have ancient Chinese works of art.
Wang Wenli, was born in February 1975 near Dali in Yunnan Province. Early in the 2000's her great familiarity with people from all walks of life as well as the historical and scenic wonders of Yunnan led her to become a administrator of duties for the area. In the early 2000's she and Mr. Teller met and a business relationship was born and she has become an integral part of Mr. Tellers interests in Yunnan ever since. Aside from her duties as a guide in Dali she also acts as a translator as well as a scout for Dali Dreamstone treasures when other officers of Mr. Tellers company are in the United States. Talent and perseverance has allowed her to become Vice President of the International Dali Dreamstone Association. After graduating from school she began working in galleries around Dali with the purpose of speaking English as well as becoming versed in Dali's culture, customs and history. During her time spent learning in the galleries around Yunnan she was introduced to the locally famous Dali Dreamstones and her appreciation and love for this historic art began.
Cheng Jie Wei was born into the Bai ethnic group in the village of Yuexi in Dali City in 1953. As a child, he took his father’s sage advice and taught himself painting and calligraphy, arts that have been highly valued since ancient times and that generally still denote a scholarly individual. Mr. Cheng applied his skills through the Correspondence University of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy and was proud to graduate from that prestigious school. The natural stone pictures produced from Cang Shan Mountain fascinated and enchanted him during his youth and formative years. Because of his training in painting and calligraphy, Mr. Cheng was particularly sensitive to the artistic features of the marble: That is, “the stroke and line of the tableau is steady but not dull, nimble but not slick or frivolous. The color is strong but not boring, bright but not vulgar. They are in perfect harmony and form an integral whole, creating the artistic effect that a painter and calligrapher wish to attain. However, it is difficult for a painter or calligrapher, as no human can create on the level and appeal of such natural art.” Mr. Cheng began collecting throughout his youth, learning more about Dreamstones and art as he did so. He soon became such an aficionado that he determined to establish the Society of Marble Culture and became its Chairman. As such, he continues to collect, examine, and research the artistic theory and culture of Dali Dreamstones.
Born in 1949, He Zhao Tong was one of the many educated youths who were sent to reeducation camps in 1969 during the Cultural Revolution. In 1971, Mr. He was able to begin his career, which he did by joining the Kunming Railway Bureau. In 1987 he was transferred to the Dali Brewery, where he was engaged initially in administrative work, then later transferred to the supply department. Upon his retirement in 2005, Mr. He was able to turn his attentions to a passion that had been building for years that of collecting, working with, and finishing Dali Dreamstones. Mr. He had grown up in an environment of art evaluation and appreciation, as his father had been a teacher that specialized in fine arts and photography. In fact, his father was quite renowned for his photographs of China, many of which were published in the book, “China Pictorial,” or that won awards in competitions. This environment enriched Mr. He and encouraged him when he sought to learn and understand more about fine art in general and Dreamstones in particular. His passion for Dreamstones came about as the result of seeing one for sale in a store window one day, becoming so enthralled with it that he missed the bus home and ended up walking 8 miles (13 km) home that evening. But he rushed back the next day to purchase that captivating marble and relishes studying it every day since that purchase. Mr. Hu’s selection skills are continually being refined by purchases he has made since his retirement. He also takes advantage of the keen eye of his photographer father when he brings home new acquisitions. Their combined success at selecting exquisite pieces has been reinforced by numerous awards.
Wang Su Xi worked for many years at the marble mine of the marble factory of Dali City. When Mr. Wang retired in May 2005, he committed himself to pursuing the passion he had nourished for more than 40 years. That passion was for finding and finishing Dali Dreamstones. He had experienced the magnificent Dreamstones of Cang Shan Mountain during his career at the marble mine; now he could explore it independently and nurture his own interest in collecting top-quality marbles. Many of the treasures Mr. Wang located have received numerous awards in regional, national, and international stone competitions. He is particularly proud of one Dreamstone, named “Nobility,” which is a natural marble portrayal of the head of a person, lifelike and accurate in coloring. “Nobility” has received many commendations and Mr. Wang has been enticed to sell the piece at handsome prices, but he prefers to keep it and study its perfection and “soul.” Not satisfied merely with locating and collecting, Mr. Wang is quite active in the View Stone Association of Yunnan Province and is a vigorous director of the Research Society of the Stone Culture of Dali Prefecture.
Xiang Jun Xu is a Dreamstone collector, scholar, and active member of the Dali community. He joined the army when he was 18 years of age. During his long career in the military, he served as leader of the Dali branch of the armed forces. Mr. Xiang began collecting marbles about 20 years ago and has maintained that passion since. When he first became interested in intriguing “pictures in stone,” the marble was mainly used in furniture, few people appreciating its value as works of art. When Mr. Xiang retired in 2004, he decided to apply himself fully to the art of stone collecting. Mr. Xiang is especially appreciative of marble imagery that he can match with an accompanying photograph. In fact, he has built photo albums that correlate to his Dreamstone collection and spends hours examining and marveling over the similarity of a Dreamstone with an actual photograph. His passion has led Mr. Xiang to become actively involved in Dali’s Viewing Stone Society of Dali Bai Prefecture. He now serves as Vice President and Secretary to that organization.
Yang Rong Sheng occupies a prestigious position as the director, consultant to, and founder of the Dali Marble Stone Culture Society, which was established in 2009. He is also an active member of the Chinese Geographic Study Society, the director of the Dali Viewing Stone Society, and vice president of the Dali Stone Culture Society. Mr. Yang’s commitment to these organizations began with his passion for and life-long commitment to Dali Dreamstones. Mr. Yang was born in 1938 into the Bai ethnic group of Dali. He had a 40-year career working as a geographic explorer and mining engineer for the Geographic Mining Department of Yunnan Province until his retirement in the 1990’s. That mining expertise gave him opportunities to explore and to gain understanding about the geological structure of the area, the nature of the marble itself, and some insight into ways to free a hidden treasure from its encasement. But engineering skills alone were insufficient there also had to be passion, curiosity, patience, and a delicate touch. That combination of skills and appreciation has been Mr. Yang’s lifelong pursuit. Not only has Mr. Yang actively pursued the development of his skills at sensing masterpieces within a block or slab of marble, but he has published many articles through the years that have become an excellent body of knowledge about Dreamstones. Mr. Yang’s success can be measured by more than his personal sense of satisfaction. His acquisitions have received quite a bit of notoriety. In fact, he has had numerous articles published about his marbles and is rather a local celebrity after appearing on the local television channel discussing his pieces. Mr. Yang appreciates and takes great delight in sharing his knowledge and enlightening others about the magnificent natural works of art that are extracted from the mountain that forms a stunning backdrop to the charming city of his birth.
Yuan Peng Fei is a 38-year-old stone master who lives in the village of San Wen Be in Dali City. In the age-old tradition of the region, Mr. Yuan studied the art of locating Dreamstones at his father’s knee, his father having processed marble for a lifetime. As he learned the art of Dali Dreamstones from his father, Mr. Yuan came to appreciate what a rare privilege it was to locate one-of-a-kind natural wonders. He saw each discovery as showing unusual artistic charm, much akin to highly valued traditional Chinese paintings. And each discovery has added to his passion, as well as to his desire to learn more, to refine his skills, and to promote Dreamstone art to people in China and those abroad. One means for supporting his education and skill at locating Dreamstones has been through the numerous societies that have been established in the last decade or so. He has joined the Learned Society of the Stone Culture of Dali City; the Research Society of the Stone Culture of Dali Bai Nationality Autonomous Prefecture; the Research Society of the Stone Scripture of Yunnan Province; and the Team of Exotic Stone, Flowers, and Plants Association of Dali Bai Nationality Autonomous Prefecture. He credits his participation in these societies as opening new dimensions in his understanding and helping him find a voice so that he could help promote the artistic charm of the Dali Dreamstones.
Born in 1958 in Dali City, Zhang Zhen Tao joined the military when he was 20 years of age and served for more than 10 years. Afterward, Mr. Zhang became involved in vocational education and the needs of middle school students until 2004. In June 2004, Mr. Zhang was selected as a hands-on director of the Training Center for the Handicapped. In addition to that commitment of time and energy, he lovingly commits himself and his personal funds to helping those in need of extra guidance and support within the community. Also, that same sensitivity he shows his pupils and community members is also reflected in his philosophy about Dreamstone art. In fact, two of his insightful selections follow: “Bai Woman and her Entourage” and “The Astronaut.” Mr. Zhang’s philosophy of “The right stone will find its right owner” has guided him ever since he was walking along with some of his military companions and happened to see a lovely stone for sale at a nearby shop. To the derision and scorn of his comrades-in-arms, he spent his entire month’s salary to acquire it, study it, and appreciate the beauty of the scene it presented him. About six months later he brought this treasured stone to stone enthusiasts who had gathered at a museum in Dali City. A stone master recognized the beauty and uniqueness that had captivated Zhang, and ended up purchasing it from him. The tidy profit that Mr. Zhang realized went toward the purchase of his first wrist watch. Mr. Zhang has since purchased more marbles and further developed his eye for extraordinary Dreamstones. He now enjoys the privilege of having won many prizes in international stone competitions for some of his finds, revealing with each prize how talented he is at discerning extraordinary Dreamstones. Mr. Zhang has become so committed to Dali Dreamstones that he joined the Research Society of the Stone Culture of Dali Prefecture and has been the vice president of the View Stone Association of Dali since 2005.
Zhao Yuesheng was born on July 14th, 1958 in the city of Dali, Yunnan Province, China. From 1973 to 1987, he worked on the making of wood and stone inlaid furniture, which gave him chances to appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of even average Dali Dreamstones. Then, with the booming of tourism and stone handicrafts becoming more and more popular, he turned to searching for the best Dreamstones he could find. During the process his experience accumulated and his natural talent blossomed. The natural beauty of Dali Dreamstones stuck with him so deeply that he determined to devote himself to the collecting of Dreamstones and promoting it to more people.
Zhao Yuesheng’s hard work paid off. Dreamstones not only helped him substantially advance his financial status but also brought him fame. Many pieces from his collection were awarded prizes by governmental and local stone collecting organizations. Among them, two pieces titled, “Shou” and “Xi” were awarded certificates by the East Asian Organization Stone Exposition. Many of his Dreamstones were sold to tourists and enthusiasts from the USA, Switzerland, Russia etc., which has reinforced and redoubled his efforts to spread the culture of Dali Dreamstones.
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