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STONE DRUMS POEMS (Shigu Wen, B.C. 373)

Rubbing of Seal Script Calligraphy (zhuan shu)

Album of ten double leaves, ink rubbed on paper, each double leaf measures 15¾ x 24¼in. (40 x 61.6cm.)

Total of thirty-five collectors' seals, including ninteen of Wu Yun (1811-1883)

Ten colophons, including one each by Weng Fangguang (1733-1818), Pan Yijun (1740-1830), He Shaoji (1799-1873) and five of Wu Yun

Frontispiece by Chen Yuanshu (circa 1600-1632)

Lot Essay

The stone drums are ten stones carved in the shape of drums and engraved with texts telling of royal hunting trips. They have been traditionally dated to the reign of Emperor Xuanwang (reign 827-782 B.C.) of the Zhou Dynasty, and the calligraphy attributed to Shi Zhou (9th century B.C.), who is credited with the development of large script calligraphy. The Stone Drums are believed to be the oldest engravings of Chinese calligraphy in stone, as well as some of the oldest directly preserved Chinese poems.

There are only four widely known Song dynasty rubbings of the Shigu Wen. These belonged to the Ming dynasty collector An Guo and are now in Japan. Late Qing scholars included rubbings of these stones in their collections, but these primarily dated to the early Qing. Ming rubbings in which the two characters and were not broken were very rare. In 1279 the collector Pan Di translated the poems into modern Chinese and commented that only one character, , of the eighth volume remained. Since this lot includes the single character and and are in very good condition, the rubbing dates to the Southern Song period. Along with the four sets in Japan, this is one of the best Song rubbings of the Shigu Wen in the world.
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