Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
The translucent bottle is carved through the translucent pale-blue overlay with a continuous landscape scene which on one side includes Meng Haoran riding a donkey and holding a fly whisk, followed by his attendant holding a prunus branch. The reverse shows a pavilion nestled amidst pine and bamboo.
2 1/8 in. (5.4 cm.) high, stone stopper
Robert Kleiner, London, 2007.
Ruth and Carl Barron Collection, Belmont, Massachusetts, no. 4628.

Brought to you by

Margaret Gristina
Margaret Gristina

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

Condition Report

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

The overlay on this bottle is subtly shaded, ranging from an almost opaque light blue, as seen on the central figure on a donkey, to a more translucent, opalescent tone at the foot. The shading gives the overlay an “icy” effect, which compliments the atmosphere of the winter scene that is implied by the inclusion of the “Three Friends of Winter,” bamboo, pine and prunus.

The subject of a scholar riding a donkey, sometimes followed by an attendant holding a branch of prunus, has been variously interpreted. Ka Bo Tsang has identified this particular figure as the Tang-dynasty scholar, poet and recluse, Meng Haoran, who was reputed to have admired prunus blossoms. For further discussion, see Ka Bo Tsang, "Who is the Rider on the Donkey?", JICSBS, Summer, 1994, pp. 4-16, fig. 14. Another possibility is that the figure represents the fifth-century poet Lu Kai, from the Song State (AD 420-479) of the Southern Dynasties period, who is shown traveling in Jiangnan accompanied by his attendant, who carries a branch of prunus blossoms. Lu sends these blossoms hundreds of miles north to his friend the historian Fan Ye (AD 398-445) in Chang'an with a poem, the last line of which reads: "I send you merely a branch of spring."

More from The Ruth and Carl Barron Collection of Fine Chinese Snuff Bottles: Part II

View All
View All