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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VI  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 27 May 2013: Lot 111 

Lot 111

Lot 111
Treasury 6, no. 1356 (‘Bingrong’s Gentleman’)

Pale yellowish lime-green glaze on porcelain; with a flat lip and recessed flat foot surrounded by a protruding flat footrim; carved on one main side with a blossoming prunus tree, the foot inscribed in seal script, Wang Bingrong zuo (‘Made by Wang Bingrong’); all exterior surfaces, except the footrim, glazed; the interior unglazed
Wang Bingrong, Jingdezhen, 1820–1860
Height: 7.1 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.55/1.18 cm
Stopper: Pale, yellowish, lime-green glaze on porcelain; old and of the correct type, but not the original

Marilyn Shen (1965)
Hugh M. Moss Ltd (1965)
Cyril Green (1965)
Hugh M. Moss Ltd (1967)
Ian Wasserman (1967)
Sotheby’s, London, 6 June 1988, lot 341

Kleiner 1995, no. 236
Chen Tao 2002, p. 22, no. 34
Treasury 6, 編號 1356

British Museum, London, June–October 1995
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997

This is one of Wang’s masterpieces, with particularly painstaking detailing and undercutting of the relief design, though the prunus theme is unusual for him. The winter-blossoming prunus was not a common subject for the porcelain carvers of Jingdezhen. This gnarled old tree is splendidly composed and executed, and the two prominent blossoms significant. When a prunus has two unusually large blossoms, it represents marital harmony.

Another unusual feature of this particular bottle is the blank reverse. Although Wang’s subjects are customarily focussed on one main side, the design usually extends around the narrow sides to the other main side. The reverse side accommodates the less important aspects of the design (the dragon’s tail, for instance, in the series of dragon bottles, Sale 1, lot 112, Sale 2, lot 102, and Sale 3, lot 17 ) or, on rare occasions, an inscription (Sale 2, lot 119), but even then the pictorial subject tends to wrap around a little onto the reverse. This is one of his few works with a completely blank back. Perhaps he felt that, having done so well with the front, he need not bother with the back. Or perhaps that decision was encouraged by the shape of the vessel: a radically flat bottle of this sort intrinsically offers itself as a flat canvas for the design, not as a three-dimensional form to be viewed from all sides.

The signature here is in one of his two forms of engraved signatures, in seal script; the colour is another of the pastel colours he preferred. The stopper is not the original, although it is an old one of the correct type for these wares. It was not on the bottle when photographed by Moss in the 1960s.


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=1590&exhibition=11&ee_lang=eng


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