J.J. Lally & Co., Oriental Art / New York City, New York

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ELEGANTLY MADE: Art for the Chinese Literati

March 13-27, 2020

A MOTHER-OF-PEARL INLAID ZITAN BRUSH POT
3.
A MOTHER-OF-PEARL INLAID ZITAN BRUSH POT

Qing Dynasty, 18th – 19th Century

of cylindrical form with thick straight sides rising to a very gently rounded rim, inlaid in mother-of-pearl with two poetic inscriptions in running script followed by the signature Shi’an and a blank seal.

Height 4 78 inches (12.4 cm)
Diameter 4 58 inches (11.7 cm)

Provenance
China Guardian, Beijing, Porcelain, Furniture and Works of Art, 3 November 2002, lot 1501
Shuisongshi Shanfang Collection

Published
Zhongguo jiade yishupin touzi tudian: zaxiang (China Guardian Illustrated Catalogue of Art Investment: Miscellaneous), [Hebei], 2005, p. 156 top

The first three inscribed lines are taken from a short prose composition, the 韭花帖 (Jiu hua tie, Chive Blossoms Couplet) by Yang Ningshi (楊凝式, 873-954), an important calligrapher of the Five Dynasties period:

當一葉報秋之初 When a single leaf first announces autumn’s here
乃韭花逞味之始 That’s when chive blossoms begin to flaunt their flavor.
凝式 Ningshi

Followed by five lines excerpted from another calligraphic model, a five-syllable poem also by Yang Ningshi, 神仙起居法帖 (Shenxian qiju fatie, Method of Daily Life that Leads to Immortality):

行之不厭煩 Never grow tired by frequency of practice
晝夜無窮數 through days and nights without number.
歲久積功成 For only after long years of accumulated success
漸入神仙路 does one gradually enter the path of immortality.

Followed by the name 石菴 Shi’an, which is a hao of Liu Yong (劉墉, 1719-1804).

Both inscriptions refer to the art of calligraphy, observing that only after much time and effort – when one reaches the autumn of life – can one’s art attain immortal excellence, characterized by rich flavor, as the Chinese flowering chive plant becomes powerfully aromatic only in the autumn.

Liu Yong was a high official and a calligrapher renowned for his interpretations of Jin, Tang, and Song calligraphic styles. Although both inscriptions on the present example are excerpts from poems by Yang Ningshi, only the first is based on Yang’s hand; the second is Liu Yong’s own style.

An example of Liu Yong’s calligraphy modelled after Yang Ningshi’s Jiu hua tie (Chive Blossoms Couplet), quoting the same couplets followed by the name Ningshi as shown on the present brush pot, in the collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei, is illustrated by Wang, ‘Liu Yong shuxue tanlue (Brief Discussion on the Studies of Liu Yong’s Calligraphy),’ NPM Monthly of Chinese Art, Taipei, 2002, No. 5 (Issue 230), p. 71. 

清十八 - 十九世紀  紫檀螺鈿楊凝式詩文筆筒 高 12.4 厘米 徑 11.7 厘米
         「石庵」款

來源 北京中國嘉德 2002 年 11 月 3 日,拍品第 1501 號
   水松石山房藏

出版 中國嘉德藝術投資圖典:雜項,2005 年,第 156 頁上

Additional Images (Touch to enlarge)

3.
A MOTHER-OF-PEARL INLAID ZITAN BRUSH POT

Qing Dynasty, 18th – 19th Century

Height 4 78 inches (12.4 cm)
Diameter 4 58 inches (11.7 cm)

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