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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VII  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 November 2013: Lot 55 

Lot 55

Lot 55
Treasury 3, no. 424 (‘The Garrulous Monk Imperial Turquoise’)

Turquoise matrix; adequately but not extensively hollowed, with a flat lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a rounded footrim; incised on one side in clerical script with a poem followed by Qianlong yuti (‘Inscribed by the Qianlong emperor’), the foot incised in seal script Qianlong nian zhi (‘Made during the Qianlong period’)
Imperial, probably palace workshops, 1736–1799
Height: 5.1 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.47/1.55 and 1.50 cm (oval)
Stopper: coral, of official’s-hat shape with integral finial and collar; additional vinyl collar

Alice B. McReynolds
Sotheby’s, New York, 16 April 1985, lot 135

JICSBS, September 1977, p. 13, fig. 11
Kleiner 1987,no. 174
Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 243
Kleiner 1995, no. 286
Treasury 3, no. 424

Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987
Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993
Hong Kong Museum of Art, March–June 1994
National Museum, Singapore, November 1994–February 1995
British Museum, London, June–October 1995
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997

We have made the point elsewhere that the higher the art, the less a little unobtrusive damage matters, and here is the perfect example. This is such a superb imperial bottle, bristling with Qianlong inscriptions, and of such lovely form and material that we very much doubt that the small chip in the foot would make a jot of difference in the marketplace.

The reign mark and inscription are very well incised and in typical palace-workshops style. Although it is possible that a distant imperial workshop received a precise model to copy it would have been more convenient to do it in the palace workshops.

The poem inscribed on the bottle is an aggregation of fairly common expressions to form a competent poem with a Buddhist theme.

The bamboo so verdant is the Dharma Body.
Spring is everywhere right before our eyes.
Fenggan, who talked too much, really overdid it.
For how many people does the flower [of enlightenment] blossom in
their heart?
Composed by Qianlong

Fenggan, a Tang-dynasty Buddhist monk, is famous for having ‘talked too much’ because he blew the cover of Manjusri and Samantabhadra, two bodhisattvas who were living at Mount Tiantai as monks, forcing them to leave. The first two lines of the poem convey the notion that enlightenment is everywhere; the third line uses the famous story of Fenggan to observe that one can lose the state of enlightenment by trying to talk about it; a flower blooming in the heart is a common expression for sudden enlightenment.


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=1692&exhibition=12&ee_lang=eng


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