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A MOLDED AND CARVED GOURD BRUSH POT The brush pot is molded into six vertical panels and finely decorated in relief with a horse shown rolling on its back with its legs kicking and mane and tail flying, and an inscription, a signature, Zhiyuan, followed by a Xing you heng tang mark. The interior and base are lacquered in black. Together with a gourd brush and cover decorated with an inscription describing the joy of living in seclusion incised in archaistic bronze script style, followed by a signature, Li Huasheng, and a seal mark, ding. Brush pot: 4 ½ in. (11.4 cm.) high; brush and cover: 9 ¼ in. (23.4 cm.) long, goat hair bristle
Provenance
Brush pot: Christie's New York, 16 September 1998, lot 115.
Nicholas Grindley, London, 1998.

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Michael Bass
Michael Bass

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Lot Essay

Zhiyuan was the sobriquet of Chao Mingsheng (1611-1680), a Ming dynasty yimin ('leftover subject') scholar based in Jiaxing who lived in seclusion. He was known for molding gourds grown from his own garden into different archaistic vessel shapes.

The hallmark, Xing you heng tang, may be translated, 'made for the hall of constancy', which was the residence of Zhai Quan, a grandson of the emperor Qianlong, and a famous collector of the Daoguang period.

The inscription on the brush was taken from a poem written by Zhong Changtong (AD 179-219), a scholar and official of the Eastern Han dynasty. The poem was recorded in Hou Han Shu (The Book of Later Han).

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