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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VII  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 November 2013: Lot 33 

Lot 33

Lot 33
Treasury 4, no. 493 (‘Longevity Crane’)
HK$187,500

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 crane perched on a rock with two pine trees in the foreground and peonies growing beyond them, inscribed in regular script, ‘For the pure appreciation of Yanchen’, the other main side with a boatman in a straw raincoat and hat punting his boat into the shelter of a group of willows at a reedy river bank with distant mountains beyond, inscribed in draft script ‘Executed at the capital in the eighth month of the year xinmao by Zhou Leyuan’, with one seal of the artist, Yuan yin (‘seal of Yuan’), in negative seal script
Zhou Leyuan, The Studio of Lotus-root Fragrance, Xuannan, Beijing, eighth month, 1891
Height: 7 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.55/1.60 cm
Stopper: tourmaline; vinyl collar

Illustration:
Watercolour by Peter Suart

Provenance:
Alice B. McReynolds
Sotheby’s, New York, 16 April 1985, lot 187

Published:
Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 320
Treasury 4, no. 493

Exhibited:
Hong Kong Museum of Art, March–June 1994
National Museum, Singapore, November 1994–February 1995
Christie's, London, 1999

The composition of the pine tree here is unusual and powerful. Instead of the usual version where most of the tree is shown, here we see mainly the trunks of two mature trees, superbly depicted in Zhou’s usual subtly delineated and washed style with the emphasis of lively, jet-black strokes to represent mossy growth on the ancient trunks. The only indication that they are pine trees as opposed to any other sort of ancient tree is in a single branch of pine needles entering from the upper left-hand corner to complete the frame set up for the crane by the two tree trunks. The background, which appears at first glance to be left-over space, is in fact washed subtly to give the faintest adumbration of a landscape beyond, with mists floating across and obscuring its detail.
On the other side is one of Zhou’s more powerful scenes of the fisherman sheltering from a storm beneath willow trees, indicated by the fact that he wears a straw raincoat and hat, and by the obviously wind-swept willows. The mountains beyond are as subtly painted as those on the similar painting on Sale 2, lot 49, and the contrast between the heavier colouring and greater detailing of the foreground and the adumbrated distant peaks are as effective. With Zhou’s mature willow paintings the balance between the detail of the trunks and branches and the broad sweeps of colour for the leaves is always closely observed and ideally achieved.

 

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=1716&exhibition=12&ee_lang=eng


  
  

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