• For the Enjoyment of Scholars: auction at Christies

    Sale 2391

    For the Enjoyment of Scholars: Selections from the Robert H. Blumenfield Collection

    25 March 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 814

    AN UNUSUAL BRICK-RED INKSTONE

    Price Realised  

    AN UNUSUAL BRICK-RED INKSTONE
    The grinding surface in the form of the sun rising from waves, and the sections of the well formed by a crane flying amidst clouds, with further clouds, sun and a five-character inscription, Cheng Jia Yucheng Long, on the base
    5¼ in. (13.3 cm.) across, box


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    Yucheng Long (1617 - 1684) was a high-ranking official during the Kangxi period known for his calligraphy and for a painting style close to that of Dong Qichang. The decoration of this inkstone would have been appropriate for a scholar/official, as the crane is not only a symbol of longevity, but also the symbol of the first rank civil official. According to T.T. Bartholomew, Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2006, p. 107, when the crane is shown facing the incoming tide it is a rebus for "May you become an official of the first rank and preside at the court", and the addition of the rising sun (which augurs a rise in rank) reinforces the wish for a rise to that of first rank.