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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part IV  
Bonham's, Hong Kong, 28 November 2011: Lot 15 

Lot 15


Lot 15
Treasury 4, no.553 (‘Ding’s Esoteric Dance of the Brush’)

An inside-painted glass 'Xuanhe inspired' 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 a deer looking up at two bats, a crane at the foot of an ancient cypress tree, a convoluted rock with two white-headed bulbuls perched on it, blossoming peonies and other leafy branches; inscribed in draft script ‘At the request of Shaobo, the honourable elder brother, Erzhong imitated a Xuanhe painting [on this bottle] in the summer of the year jihai’, with one seal of the artist, Erzhong, in negative seal script
Ding Erzhong, seventh lunar month, 1899
Height: 5.8 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.54/1.59 cm
Stopper: tourmaline; vinyl collar

Bob C. Stevens
Sotheby’s New York, 25 June 1982, lot 222
Gerd Lester (1986)

Stevens 1976, no. 877
Kleiner 1987, no. 261
Treasury 4, no.553

Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987
Christie’s, London, 1999

Xuanhe was one of six reign titles used by Emperor Huizong (1082–1135). Ding is referring to a painting by Huizong, who was an accomplished painter and calligrapher, or, more likely, to one of the many painting-academy bird-and-flower works produced in the Xuanhe reign (1119 – 1126).

This is another of Ding’s mature masterpieces, with a magnificently balanced composition made up of charming and symbolic elements superbly painted. It is also a typical example of Ding’s mastery of the inner languages of Chinese painting. Apart from the composition, or the formal element, the brushwork is sublime and the ink tones exceptional, balancing dark black strokes and washes against paler, watery ink in what appears to be an entirely spontaneous, natural manner. And, indeed, spontaneous and natural they are, but to arrive at that sort of spontaneity one must first acquire and then transcend mere technique. Any artist in the tradition knows that ink tones are an important inner language of Chinese painting, but for them to work sublimely, one must achieve them without conscious intent by transcending intellectual control of the concept and painting from the heart.


Easy link to this page: http://www.e-yaji.com/auction/photo.php?photo=1200&exhibition=9&ee_lang=eng


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Hugh Moss |