Ding Erzhong

538 Provenance: Zhirou Zhai Collection Hugh M. Moss Ltd. (1993) Published: British Museum, Chinese Snuff Bottles in the Collection of Mary and George Bloch, no. 388 Exhibited: British Museum, London, June-November 1995 Israel Museum. Jerusalem. July-November 1997 Teasing the Crane Glass, ink and watercolours; with a flat lip and recessed, slightly convex oval foot surrounded by a protruding, flat oval footrim; painted on one main side with a summer landscape scene with two scholars delighting in the scenery as they stroll beneath a pine growing with two other trees from a rocky bank, the distance with a stream running through a rocky gorge with mountain peaks beyond, inscribed in draft script Erzhong imitated the method of Huayang shanren in mid-spring of the year jiawu,' with one seal of the artist, Ding, in negative seal script, the other main side with a boy teasing a crane with a stick from a garden terrace beneath a pawlonia tree, inscribed in draft script 'In the year jiawu of the Guangxu period, Ding Erzhong unintentionally painted this while sojourning at the capital, imitating the idea of Bohu,' with one seal of the artist, Erzhong yin (`seal of Erzhong), in negative seal script Ding Erzhong, Xuannan, Beijing, mid-spring, 1894 Stopper coral; vinyl collar In his inscription, Ding Erzhong places himself in Beijing in 1894, as he does in a bottle from the Virginia Mead Collection the previous year, the first from which we have any recorded works. Although Ding uses the term 'sojourning' as if it was a temporary stay, his bottles and his biographers confirm that, despite visits to other places, he was based in Beijing during his early career when he was concentrating on snuff-bottle painting. In two bottles dated to 1895, one dated to 1896 and one dated to 1898, he also identifies the district of Beijing as being Xuannan, the area to the south of the Xuanwu men, one of the ancient gateways to the city in the southwest of Beijing (see under no. 492). Zhou Leyuan also lived in the Xuannan area, providing us with the clue that bursts the second bubble of misconception about Ding Erzhong: that he was not influenced by anyone. From the wrong perception that he was a lofty literates who never worked commercially (see under the last entry, no. 537) we had come to the conclusion