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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part IX  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 24 November 2014: Lot 63 

Lot 63

Lot 63
Treasury 4, no. 640 (‘Cold Mountain’)

Glass, ink, and watercolours; with a concave lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a protruding rounded foot rim; painted on one main side with a mountainous landscape under snow with a scholar having just crossed a plank bridge over a river, inscribed in cursive script with the title Hanshan jixue 寒山積雪 (‘Snow-laden Cold Mountains’), followed by Meng Zishou zuo 孟子受作 (‘Done by Meng Zishou’), with one seal of the artist, Zishou, in negative seal script, the other main side with a pine tree growing from a rocky ground with flowering peonies, inscribed in clerical script with the title Fugui changchun 富貴長春 (‘Riches and Everlasting Spring’), followed by Yiwei zhongxia ying Fushu daren huicun, zhi houcheng jingzeng 乙未仲夏應黻叔大人惠存姪厚誠敬贈 (‘In the second month of summer in the year jiwei [this was made] as a keepsake for the honourable Fushu. Presented with respect by his nephew Hou’), with one seal of the artist, shou, in negative seal script
Meng Zishou, Beijing, second month of summer, 1919
Height: 6.29 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.6/2.0 cm
Stopper: tourmaline; vinyl collar

Private West Coast collection
Sotheby’s, New York, 6 April 1990, lot 118

Kleiner 1995, no. 428
Treasury 4, no. 640

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

This is another of Meng’s masterly landscapes that is unique to him. He has used white pigment extensively in order to convey the image of the snow-covered landscape. One might prefer Zhou Leyuan’s approach, where he uses left-over space surrounded by grey washes to depict snow-covered hills, but Meng’s use of the white is very impressive, nonetheless. It is well integrated with the ink drawing of the bones of the landscape, which are in turn achieved with excellent brushwork and a lovely deft touch with his ink tones.

On the other main side, the subject, while painted by other artists, appears in a composition entirely Meng’s own. The expansive size of the bottle seems to have inspired Meng here, as the use of an unusually wide format so often inspired these artists.

Meng’s inscription on this side might imply that he is giving the bottle away himself and that Houcheng is yet another of his many alternate names, but in this case the entire inscription relates to his patron Hou and his patron’s uncle, Fushu. Meng places his own signature on the other side to record that he painted it, while Hou merely states that he presented it respectfully.

This is another of the Bloch bottles that is preserved in studio condition. It is probably just as well that it was not subjected to snuff given the extensive use of white, which, as we know, is a delicate pigment.


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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