A RARE IMPERIAL CARVED CINNABAR CIRCULAR INKCAKE
THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN 
A RARE IMPERIAL CARVED CINNABAR CIRCULAR INKCAKE

Details
A RARE IMPERIAL CARVED CINNABAR CIRCULAR INKCAKE
QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795)

The dish-shaped inkcake is thickly moulded with slightly rounded sides, very finely carved on the interior medallion with a pair of confronted gilded dragons, divided by two characters, Yuci, 'Bestowed by Imperial Command' in green, below a 'flaming pearl', all within a blue circle and a zig-zag band, the cavetto carved with Shou characters arranged in two bands below a key-fret band, the everted rim designed with kui dragons on a gilt ground, the reverse side similarly decorated with a band of paired kui dragons bordered by double circles, raised on a short foot ring, the base with a nine-character mark, Daqing Qianlong Nian Wang Jinsheng zhi, 'Made in the Great Qing Qianlong period by Wang Jinsheng', within a square border
7 1/4 in. (18.4 cm.) diam., box

Lot Essay

An octagonal ink cake by the same maker in the National Palace Museum, Taibei, is illustrated by Ts'ai Mei-fen, 'Wenfang yong ju', Usable Objects from the Scholar's Studio, The National Palace Museum Monthly of Chinese Art, no. 11, February 1984, p. 5.

The name of the inkmaker, Wang Jinsheng, does not appear to be recorded although it is possible that this may be the same (or related to) Wang Jinsheng, who supplied the Qing Court with ink as recorded in Zhongguo Lidai Renming Dacidian, A Biographical Dictionary of Historical Chinese Dignitaries, Part I, p. 1140. As suggested by the two characters, Yuci, inks of this type were made as Imperial gifts.

Compare with an almost identical ink cake with the same maker's mark, sold in New York, 22 March 2000, lot 42.
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