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    Sale 2389

    Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

    27 November 2007, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1833

    A RARE IMPERIAL HARDSTONE AND MOTHER-OF-PEARL EMBELLISHED ZITAN BRUSHPOT

    Price Realised  

    A RARE IMPERIAL HARDSTONE AND MOTHER-OF-PEARL EMBELLISHED ZITAN BRUSHPOT
    QING DYNASTY, KANGXI PERIOD (1662-1722)

    Of cylindrical form raised on three tab feet and wire-inlaid around the lipped rim with a continuous foliate scroll, the brushpot is finely inlaid with wood, mother-of-pearl, coral, malachite, soapstone and gilt-bronze to depict a butterfly fluttering beside a long gnarled bough bearing prunus in various stages of bloom, entwined with nandina branches, above a low rock, the reverse with a poem in archaic script inlaid with gilt-bronze wire and terminating in two seals, xue and ju, for Sun Xueju, the late Ming craftsman famous for his skilfull inlay work
    7 1/8 in. (18 cm.) high, box


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    Previously sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 15 November 1989, lot 515, and again at Christie's Hong Kong, 29 October 2001, lot 534.

    The inscription may be translated as:

    The great bell rings from the darkened chamber;
    (its sound) floats above the tiles and down to the middle hall.
    Who said that by striking my hand with ease;
    I can command such thunderous sound?

    The style of decoration depicting prunus and nandina is very similar to that on the cover of a rectangular zitan box, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, The Imperial Sale, 30 April 2000, lot 610. The rectangular box is also inscribed with a poem. The floral depiction of nandina and prunus is an imagery of the heralding of Spring. Nandina is a plant that bears red berries and is often combined with plum blossoms in floral arrangements or traditionally grown together in the garden. For a discussion on this floral combination, see T. Tse Bartholomew, 'Botanical Puns in Chinese Art', Orientations, vol. 16, no. 9, September 1985, pp. 18-34.

    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM AN ASIAN COLLECTION