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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VII  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 November 2013: Lot 77 

Lot 77

Lot 77
Treasury 4, no. 444 (‘Rustic Delight’)

Crystal and ink; with a very slightly concave lip and slightly concave foot; painted on one main side with a fisherman and a woodcutter chatting as they stroll in a rocky landscape, inscribed in regular script ‘Following [the style of] Shitian’, with the signature Banshan, the other main side inscribed in clerical script with an encomium on snuff followed in regular script by ‘Copied on a summer day in the year xinwei’, followed by the signature Yunfeng in cursive script, and one seal of the artist, Yunfeng, in black ink and positive seal script
Bottle: 1760–1811
Painting: Yiru jushi, attributable to Beijing, summer 1811
Height: 5.06 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.6/1.81 cm
Stopper: Glass; vinyl collar

Trojan Collection
Robert Hall (1993)

JICSBS, December 1974, p. 22, figs. 43 and 44
Hall 1992, no. 83
Kleiner 1995, no. 375
Treasury 4, no. 444

British Museum, London, June–November 1995
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997
Christie's, London, 1999

This is the same encomium on snuff inscribed on Sale 2, lot 124:

Brought from beyond the seas, this herb of the immortals from
beyond the passes:
Its flavour in the bottle can be endlessly praised.
At the early court, one sniff clears the mind and eyes;
On a night journey, a tiny scoop will protect one from the pestilential vapours.

It should be mentioned that the Manchu signature transcribed as Jun Weng and Yun Jeng in our earlier commentary should be Yun Feng. The signature is obviously a Manchu transcription of the Chinese sobriquet Yunfeng, not a Manchu name per se.

This is the latest dated bottle by Yiru jushi, although there is one other bottle from the spring of 1811 recorded (a cylindrical bottle painted with birds, from the Catherine Shierson Collection). If Yiru jushi is Hongwu, then he was sixty-eight years old in 1811. Interestingly, this bottle shows no signs of declining control.

Although Yiru jushi did paint some purely calligraphic works, he more often painted compositions where calligraphy was combined with a picture. None of his works is predominantly pictorial. The use of a black-ink seal by this artist is interesting. Of all the artists who painted inside snuff bottles from any school, he is the only one to have used black for his seal. Here it is the seal that appears on the majority of his works where a seal was used: Yunfeng, in positive seal script. The only other seal he used, and there is only one extant bottle bearing it, was, bi (‘brush’). It is also in black ink.


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.



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