17 - 18 September 2015
A PAIR OF LARGE SHOUSHAN SOAPSTONE SEALS
Each rectangular seal is well-carved with two dragons pursuing a flaming pearl amidst scrolling clouds. One seal face is inscribed with four characters, qing ming gang jian ([with] clarity and brightness, fortitude and vigor), the other with seven characters, lingzhi liquan wu ben yuan (Neither lingzhi nor the Li Spring has a root).
6 ¾ in. (17 cm.) high
The K'ung Hsiang-Hsi (Kong Xiangxi, 1881-1967) Collection, New York, and thence by descent within the family.
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The longer inscription, lingzhi liquan wu ben yuan, was taken from a poem by the Tang dynasty poet Zhang Jiuling (AD 678-740), and could be interpreted as 'one should rely on one's own hard work rather than one's family and ancestors' glory'.
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