One of China’s most esteemed and cultivated collectors of antiquities, Zeng Xiaojun graduated from the Central Art and Craft Academy of Fine Arts in 1981, where he was trained in Western draftsmanship and Chinese brushwork. An accomplished and well-exhibited artist, Zeng’s primary passion for the last twenty years, however, has been studying and collecting Chinese furniture and scholar’s objects. While Zeng acknowledges that painting is one of the most creative and direct outlets for expression, it has never been his only pursuit, and the completion of a single work is known to take countless hours to ‘perfect’. Still, rare as they might be, Zeng’s paintings are as connected to his own scholarly taste as they are the literati painting tradition: in his paintings, Zeng focuses on the study of old trees, which, isolated as objects from the context of landscapes, remind us of the Chinese intellectuals’ fascination with these subjects as embodiments of their own spiritual perseverance in times of turbulence—particularly evergreens, which, upright and undaunted by winter storms, never submit to adversity. In the artist’s portraits of trees we find his search to better understand and appreciate the mechanics of natural forms, to evoke the wild and untamed beauty that can be found in other vestiges of the natural world, such as scholar’s rocks. Poetic and powerful, each of Zeng’s paintings offers a personal and contemporary visual experience of nature that is as deeply connected to the collector as to the artist.