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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VIII  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 May 2014: Lot 1029 

Lot 1029
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Lot 1029
Treasury 6, no. 1457 (‘Jiangnan Scenery’)

Famille rose enamels on white glaze on dark-brown stoneware; with a flat lip and recessed flat foot surrounded by a protruding convex foot rim; painted on each main side with a similar scene of rocky, pine-clad promontories painted in heavy, lively outlines behind an elaborate pavilion that stands amid rocks and trees painted in a similar style amid surrounding waters, and a man in a skiff on the narrow sides, one of these with five birds overhead, the other with what may be a rare depiction on stoneware of a sun partially eclipsed by a cloud or the moon; the lip and foot rim biscuit; the foot and interior glazed white
Jagged Line Master, Yixing, 1800–1850
Height: 6.37 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.6/1.35 cm
Stopper: glass; vinyl collar

Wing Hing (1985)

Kleiner 1995, no. 243
Treasury 6, no. 1457

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

This, lot 1139 in the present auction, and Sale 5, lot 40 are all from the same enamel workshop and represent a coherent output that was reasonably large, extending beyond snuff bottles. The style of the painting is so distinctive that we have coined the name ‘Jagged Line Master’ for the artist. The painting style is characterized by landscapes outlined in thick, modulated, jagged black lines painted with the freedom and expressiveness of one who has done it many times over and to whom it has become almost a visual cliché. Its origins go back to paintings of the Song dynasty, but the charming, folk-like quality here is far removed from the lofty masterpieces of the Song. The landscapes on the various wares are composed each time from a series of simple, familiar forms: apart from the distinctive rocks with their towering outcrops (also with Song antecedents), there are pine trees, elaborate pavilions – some of which are probably intended to indicate a temple – more modest country houses, and figures in skiffs. The boats are made up of two slightly curving lines (a thick blue one to form the hull, and a thinner black line above it). These landscapes are, as on most enamelled Yixing wares, primarily decorative in intent, obviously turned out in reasonably large numbers, and generalized in their subject matter. These are the landscapes of Jiangnan, with its waterways and islands, and towering rocky outcrops here and there; and the fisherman, if he is not intended as a scholar in fact, is there to remind the scholar of the simple life. There is an obvious similarity between this series of landscapes and those of the Slip Master (see lot 1047 in this auction; Sale 3, lot 46; and Sale 7, lot 144).

The decorative nature of this group of enamelled bottles is demonstrated by the fact that although a continuous scene is suggested, what we have here is basically the same composition, with only minor variations, painted on each main side, and then joined with water at the edges. The same basic composition also occurs on other bottles and was a standard one for the artist (see for instance Stevens 1976, no. 339, where no. 338 is from the same hand, but of a different composition). A related subject, where larger-scale figures are in the foreground, is in Robert Kleiner & Co. 1994, no. 74. The enamelling for this group is usually over a white glaze, often crackled; it is similar to but thicker than that used on the inside of the majority of Yixing bottles. Alternative schemes are recessed panels of decoration with dark blue surrounds (see lot 1047 in the present auction) or imitation shagreen surrounds (see Sale 5, lot 40).

We are not sure when this second distinctive style of enamelling began, but there is some evidence that it continued into the Daoguang period (see discussion under Sale 5, lot 40), so we have left a broad dating range for this group. Especially when they are in excellent condition, it is easy to see why their lively charm ensured them a good reception in their time.


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=1907&exhibition=13&ee_lang=eng


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