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photographer E-Yaji.

The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VI  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 27 May 2013: Lot 183 

Lot 183

Lot 183
Treasury 4, no. 443 (‘The Snuff and Bottle Encomiums’)

Crystal and ink; with a flat lip and a concave foot; carved with three bats and formalized clouds; painted on the lower bulb of one main side with a scholar inscribing a rock while his attendant stands behind him holding his inkstone, inscribed in regular script ‘Following the brush-style of Academician Awaiting Orders Wen,’ followed by the signature Yunfeng in cursive script, and one seal of the artist, Yunfeng, in black ink and positive seal script, the upper bulb of the same side with an encomium in clerical script on the snuff bottle followed by the signature Zhitian in regular script and, extending onto the narrow side also in regular script, ‘Recorded on a spring day in the year jisi,’ with the signature Yiru, the other main side with the upper bat acting as a frame for the inscription in regular script, ‘The arrival of double happiness’ (Shuangfu lailin), the lower bulb painted with an orchid growing from a rocky outcrop inscribed ‘Fragrancy for a king,’ followed by the signature Banshan, and, above, an encomium on snuff, all in regular script
Bottle: 1750–1809
Painting: Yiru jushi, attributable to Beijing, spring, 1809
Height: 6.89 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.6/1.7 cm
Stopper: carnelian; silver collar

The Hon. Irene Austin (the Fernhill Park Collection, formed between 1944 and 1977)
The Chinese Porcelain Company (New York, 1991)

Chinese Porcelain Company 1991, no. 149
Treasury 4, no. 443

The Chinese Porcelain Company, New York, October 1991
Exhibition Rooms, International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society Convention, Boston, October 1991
Christie's, London, 1999

The poem is about the crystal bottle:

Compare it to jade: happily, it has no flaws.
Liken it to ice: it has even more charms.
Within it, the universe is different:
Beyond the world, a flavour to be longed for.

The same poem was translated slightly differently for Sale 1, lot 68, a bottle by the same artist.

On the lower bulb of the other side is a rhyming couplet about the snuff:

The flavour within is liked by everyone;
Recklessly they bring gold and furs to trade for it.

Academician Awaiting Orders Wen was the artist Wen Zhengming (1470 – 1559). Wen and the subject of the scholar writing on the rock (minus the rock) appeared also in Sale 5, lot 4.

One of the signatures here is just Yiru, a departure from the usual full version of Yiru jushi. (Jushi can refer to a worthy person who is not serving in office or to a Buddhist layman, but it can also add an elegant touch to one’s sobriquet without having any specific meaning). The name that follows the poem, Zhitian, was used by a great many people.

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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