These two exceptional and rare porcelain seals are signed by the famous Republican porcelain painter He Xuren (1882-1940), renowned for his exquisite paintings of wintry scenes and one of the 'Eight Friends of Zhushan'.
The inscription on the first seal reveals they were specially commissioned for ‘Commander-in-Chief Yi Zhi’, with ‘compliments of Baosen’. Yi Zhi refers to Zhu Peide (1888-1937), a high-ranking general of the Kuomintang and comrade of Sun Yat-Sen, who was active in the Xinhuai Revolution and Constitutional Protection Movement. The seal face is carved in baiwen with ‘Zhu Peide Yin’, which may be translated as Zhu Peide’s seal. The second seal face is carved in zhuwen with ’Yi Zhi’ .
The inscription on the second seal reveals He Xuren painted the scenes on both seals in imitation of Shen Zhou, otherwise known as 'Shitian Lao Ren’ (1427-1509), one of the great painters of Ming dynasty. It is likely that He Xuren received this special commission from Baosen to make these seals as a gift for Commander-in-Chief Yi Zhi.
Republic period porcelain seals are rare and few examples are documented. Three examples dated to the late Qing and early Republic periods can be found in the Hunan Changsha Museum. See Luo, Leiguang (ed.), Series of Collection in Hunan Changsha Leiguang Salon. Selections from Liling Underglaze Wucai Porcelain. Hubei, 2004.