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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VII  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 November 2013: Lot 37 

Lot 37

Lot 37
Treasury 4, no. 483 (‘Sheltering Beneath the Willows’)

Glass, ink, and watercolours; with a concave lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a protruding rounded footrim; painted on one main side with a landscape scene with a boatman in a straw raincoat and hat standing in his boat sheltering beneath a group of willows on the river bank, the distance with rolling hills rising from mist, the other main side with a dragonfly above flowering lotus and reeds, inscribed in draft script with a poetic couplet followed by ‘Painted by Zhou Leyuan in the first month of summer in the year gengyin at the capital’, with one seal of the artist, le, in negative seal script
Zhou Leyuan, The Studio of Lotus-root Fragrance, Xuannan, Beijing, first month of summer, 1890
Height: 6.59 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.51/1.58 cm
Stopper: jadeite; vinyl collar

Wing Hing, Hong Kong (1987)

Kleiner 1995, no. 382
Treasury 4, no. 483

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

This bottle seems to represent Zhou as the weather man. On one side the poetic couplet makes it clear that the rain has just stopped, but it is still rather windy, while the other side very clearly shows both wind and rain in a popular poetic image of a fisherman sheltering beneath a clump of willow trees.

The couplet reads:

The white lotuses are fragrant: rain has just passed.
The red dragonflies weaken: the wind is too much for them.

Zhou is a master of both line and ink-tones, and it often shows most accessibly in the confidence to add a single strong black line where a more hesitant artist would not dare to do so. The upper line of hills on the landscape side has a single, sudden line of dark black that fades to grey as the ink runs out. It is the perfect emphasis to define the distant hills and speaks volumes about Zhou’s confidence as an artist. This mastery is also apparent in the lines for the lotus petals, where the ink tones are varied, with dark black overlaying paler lines in some cases, but with the darker colour confined mostly to the outer petals and tips. Once these languages are acknowledged, Zhou’s mastery of them is obvious in all his works, but we have brought it up here because of the subtlety and confidence of that one defining line on the hilltops.


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=1712&exhibition=12&ee_lang=eng


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