Lot 130 Lot 130 Lot 130 Lot 130 Lot 130 Lot 131 Lot 131

photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VI  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 27 May 2013: Lot 130 

Lot 130

Lot 130
Treasury 1, no. 109 (‘The Dream of Wuling Yellow Jade’)

Mottled nephrite; well hollowed, with a concave lip and a recessed foot; incised with a poem in clerical script divided onto the two main sides, the title preceding the poem and the reign mark Qianlong nian zhi (‘Made in the Qianlong period’) following it
Imperial, 1760–1799
Height: 6.45 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.6/2 cm
Stopper: glass; vinyl collar

Sotheby’s, Billingshurst, 25 June 1991, lot 175

Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 27
Treasury 1, no. 109

Hong Kong Museum of Art, March–June 1994
National Museum, Singapore, November 1994–February 1995
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1997

The calligraphy here is of a far higher standard than many of the later Qianlong examples of bottles inscribed with imperial poems, although it is still below the exacting standards of the Qianlong palace calligraphers at their best.

Without the inscription, this would fall into a well-known group of bottles from the mid-Qing period, perhaps from the 1740s to the 1850s. The group consists of plain bottles of this form, often well hollowed through very narrow mouths, sometimes using the skin (which might dictate an irregular surface), and in this yellowish-green nephrite.

As a plain bottle, it is superbly made, of a lovely even colour of the type rather euphemistically called ‘yellow’ jade, with perfect formal integrity and a finely carved concave lip, a detail on certain early bottles that seems to indicate extra care, although not all schools subscribed to it. It is also a generous shape for this group, with a little more depth than is common and a slightly rounder profile (the shape is basically a rectangle with rounded edges and corners).

The poem inscribed on the two sides of the bottle bears the title ‘Mists and Rain on a Stream with Willows.’ It is not signed and bears only the notation ‘Made in the Qianlong period’. It is not among the emperor’s poems in the Siku quanshu.

One flowing stream winds ‘round the brushwood gate.
A curving path bends and encircles; few come and go.
Drooping willows and weeping willows: trees along the stream;
In the wind they sway with graceful charm, brushing one’s clothes.
Light overcast, murky, then thick with mist and rain;
Scattering rain becomes silk, mists turns into threads.
The stream leaves marks with the addition of new water last night;
Taking pole in hand, I meet a fisherman.
Bright pink mists come blowing over the water:
Somewhere peach blossoms must be falling.
I open this painting and, in a daze, enter the scenery at Wuling;
Build a hut, for I shall move my family here!

Wuling was the home of the fisherman who discovered the Peach Blossom Spring, a timeless refuge from the ups and downs of history. Tao Yuanming’s Taohuayuan ji (late third or early fourth century) is probably the most famous account of the tale.


This is not the Sotheby’s sale catalogue. This is a product of Hugh Moss for the purposes of this website. For the catalogue details please refer to Sotheby’s website or request a copy of a printed sale catalogue from Sotheby’s


Easy link to this page: http://www.e-yaji.com/auction/photo.php?photo=1521&exhibition=11&ee_lang=eng


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Hugh Moss |