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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part IV  
Bonham's, Hong Kong, 28 November 2011: Lot 93 

Lot 93

 
   

Lot 93
Treasury 4, no.570 (‘Sun Xingwu’s Wild Goose Hunt’)
HK$75,000

An inside-painted glass 'equestrian huntsmen' snuff bottle

Glass, ink, and watercolours; with a concave lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a protruding rounded footrim; painted with a continuous scene of equestrian huntsmen, one galloping towards a wild goose he has just shot out of the sky, while three more wild geese fly nearby, another beneath a cliff face with a blossoming prunus growing from it, turning after having put an arrow through another wild goose, which falls away from its two companions still flying nearby, the scene set on the grassy bank of a broad river on the other side of which is a country residence nestling in trees and distant hills, inscribed in seal script ‘Painted at the capital by Sun Xingwu in the seventh month of the year jihai’, with two seals of the artist, one, preceding the inscription, illegible and another following it Xingwu, in positive seal script
Sun Xingwu, Beijing, summer 1899
Height: 6.34 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.72/1. 85 cm
Stopper: glass; jadeite finial; vinyl collar

Provenance:
Dr and Mrs Louis E. Wolferz
Sotheby’s, New York, 3 November 1982, lot 249
Peter Bozzo
Robert Hall (1986)

Published:
Kleiner 1987, no. 307
Treasury 4, no.570

Exhibited:
Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987
Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993
Christie’s, London, 1999

From late in Sun Xingwu’s career, this is one of the hunting scenes that are always so impressive, even if partly derivative. Although the galloping figure seems to be a Sun original, the figure turning on his horse on the other main side is taken directly from a Ye Zhongsan original painted as early as 1895 (see, for instance, JICSBS, Autumn 1982, p. 17, fig. 24a). Very much the same composition of a figure on a horse shooting at wild geese appears set in a snow scene from the seventh month of same year (Hugh Moss Records), which is after this one was painted. The same hunter on a horse was painted by Sun in the winter of 1896 (Kramer Collection, Gettysburg College Library). It seems likely that Sun first saw Ye’s version in 1895 or 1896 and copied it reasonably closely. He then used just the hunter element for this work, and, a month or two later, used it again in a snow scene, but by this time he had begun to change it a little rather than using the identical image yet again.

Sun may have been inspired to paint one of his finest works here by the unusually broad shape of the bottle, which has certainly given him more scope for this lively subject which is unusual for him. Another feature of this bottle is the seal-script inscription, which he used as an alternative to his draft script from 1896 onwards, and on a number of undated bottles. It even appears on one bottle bearing a spurious Zhou Leyuan signature, another indication that he was not really faking Zhou’s works, since Zhou never inscribed in seal script. It also appeared frequently on his versions of the village inn coming to life at dawn (see, for instance, Moss, Graham, Tsang, Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, no. 444).

 

Easy link to this page: http://www.e-yaji.com/auction/photo.php?photo=1104&exhibition=9&ee_lang=eng


  
  

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Hugh Moss |