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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part X  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 1 June 2015: Lot 86 

Lot 86

Lot 86
Treasury 4, no. 550 (‘Idle Boating in the Gorge’)

Glass, ink, and watercolours; with a concave lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a protruding rounded foot rim; painted with a continuous lakeside landscape with a scholar sitting at the window of a small country dwelling on an isthmus while another scholar sits idly fishing from a boat beneath a group of trees, two of which are pines, the far shore with a waterfall, rising peaks, and a rocky cliff beneath which two boats sail, inscribed in regular-cursive script Wuxu dong fang Nantian laoren fa 戊戌冬仿南田法,二仲 (‘[Executed] in the winter of the year wuxu by Erzhong, in imitation of the method of Nantian laoren’), with one seal of the artist, Ding 丁, in negative regular script
Ding Erzhong, Xuannan, Beijing, winter 1898
Height: 6.2 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.79/1.50 cm
Stopper: coral, carved with a coiled chi dragon, with integral collar

Illustration: watercolour by Peter Suart

Bob C. Stevens
Sotheby’s New York, 26 March 1982, lot 218
Ashkenazie, San Francisco (1988)

Stevens 1976, no. 878
Kleiner 1995, no. 392
Treasury 4, no. 550

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

Nantian laoren was the sobriquet of Yun Shouping 惲壽平 (1633–1690), better known for his bird-and-flower paintings than for his landscapes, although he also painted landscapes. Whether or not Ding adhered closely to Yun Shouping’s style, which in this case he does not appear to have done, is incidental in such references to earlier masters.

This is another of Ding’s masterpieces of the landscape genre in the style that we begin to see hints of in 1897; it is further evolved here, and culminates in the masterpieces of Sale 1, lot 62; Sale 5, lot 150; Sale 7, lot 67; and Sale 9, lot 193. We might call it his ‘formal rocks’ style, where abstract intentions predominate. It is recognizable, apart from this intention, by the use of large rock forms balanced against smaller boulders set around their bases, even when the distance is indicated by the composition.

A hint of this fully-fledged abstract-intent style is to be seen in lot 6 of the present auction, where two boulders are set in the water in the middle ground and where the upper peak is fringed with smaller boulders, and here it is developed still further with the startling compositional element of the rock-face entering from the top of the picture, but it is also noticeable on the other side in the fringe of smaller boulders that define the upper, diagonal line of peaks.


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=2227&exhibition=17&ee_lang=eng


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