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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part IV  
Bonham's, Hong Kong, 28 November 2011: Lot 83 

Lot 83


Lot 83
Treasury 4, no.526 (‘Wrap-Around Good Fortune’)

An inside-painted glass 'rockwork, insects and goldfish' snuff bottle

Glass, ink, and watercolours; with a slightly concave lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a protruding rounded footrim; painted with a continuous composition of a cicada and dragonfly above a grass-covered rocky outcrop on which a katydid and a grasshopper crawl, a pond below with three fan-tailed goldfish and another dragonfly in flight, with a tree sprouting new leaves and a cabbage growing at its foot, inscribed in draft script, ‘Painted by Ye Zhongsan at the capital on the day of the Chongyang Festival in the year jiachen’, with one seal of the artist, yin (‘seal’), in negative seal script
Ye Zhongsan, the Apricot Grove Studio, Chongwen district, Beijing, 17 October 1904
Height: 6.18 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.6/1.64 cm
Stopper: tourmaline; glass collar

Christie’s Hong Kong, 16 January 1989, lot 527

Treasury 4, no.526

Christie’s, London, 1999

Although the elements of this painting all derive from Zhou Leyuan, it is another example where the expression is Ye’s. It is one of his masterpieces of the subject; the leaves are treated with the respect and commitment such repetitive detail requires if it is to be convincingly rendered. The myriad tiny strokes for the leaves are beautifully painted with unusual conviction for Ye, and it is obvious that he took great pains to make sure that every leaf worked not only as botanical detail, but as painterly élan as well. The ink tones are varied, as are the strokes, and the result is Ye at his best.

The addition of the willow tree to this subject occurs at least as early as 1898 and another version is recorded from 1902 (JICSBS, Autumn 1982, p. 23, figs. 47 and 47a, and p. 32, figs. 72 and 72a respectively), while two examples of the version without the willow, both dated to 1895, are illustrated, ibid., p. 16, figs. 20 and 20a, and 21 and 21a. With or without it, the subject formed a popular staple for the Ye family for many years. The fish vary, however, and the goldfish are sometimes combined with minnows and sometimes replaced by them.

The Chongyang Festival falls on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month and is also often referred to as the ‘Double Nine Festival’. In 1904, the ninth day of the ninth month corresponded to 17 October on the Western calendar.


Easy link to this page: http://www.e-yaji.com/auction/photo.php?photo=1115&exhibition=9&ee_lang=eng


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Hugh Moss |