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A SMALL SQUARE SOAPSTONE SEAL
Property from a Midwest Collector
A SMALL SQUARE SOAPSTONE SEAL

JIAQING PERIOD, DATED TO THE SIXTH MONTH OF THE DING CHOU YEAR, CORRESPONDING TO 1817

Details
A SMALL SQUARE SOAPSTONE SEAL
JIAQING PERIOD, DATED TO THE SIXTH MONTH OF THE DING CHOU YEAR, CORRESPONDING TO 1817
The stone of a creamy caramel-brown color, well carved with a recumbent lion resting on one front paw, the other outstretched as it turns its head to the side, the details of the long mane and tail finely incised, the face of each side of the square base carved with a lengthy inscription, the bottom carved with seven characters reading shi jian gu qu you zhou lang (In the human world there exists a music connoisseur)
1 5/8 in. (4.2 cm.) high, box
Provenance
J.J. Lally & Co., New York, no. 3935.

Lot Essay

The carver of this seal is identified as Zhao Zhichen (1781-1860), one of the so-called Eight Masters of Xiling. The seal was carved for Zhou Sanxie (b. 1783), also known as Nanqing.

The inscription on the sides of the seal may be paraphrased as follows: 'Nanqing is excellent in music. He inherited this tradition from Zhou Yu [a famous general of the Kingdom of Wu (222-263)]. Recently I read from the Anthology from the Thatched Hut for Appreciating Rain, and found a poem with the line "In the human world there exists a music connoisseur." I chose this line to carve on the seal for Nanqing.'

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