The present brushpot was reputed to have been in the Guoyunlou Collection. 'Guoyunlou' was the hall name used by the well-known artist and collector, Gu Lishi (1865-1930).
The present example is an exceptional piece of bamboo carving with much attention paid to details. It is interesting to note the varying levels of depth that have been achieved by the different layers of high relief carving, and is particularly noticeable in the work of the willow trees branches. Another point of note is the softened edges of cloud-enshrouded distant mountains that are distinguished from sharp jagged rocky cliffs of the near distance.
The master carver Gu Jue, whose designation was known as Zong Yu, was a native of Jiangsu province and was active during the Kangxi period. Gu's renowned style is characterised by carvings in high relief and attention to details; and figures and mountain-landscape themes were among his favoured topics. For another example of a brushpot signed by Gu Jue in the Seattle Art Museum see, Chinese Bamboo Carving, Part I, Hong Kong, 1978, p. 89, col. pl. 19; where the author mentioned that the addition of rosewood sealing both mouth and foot rims was a fashion introduced in the late 17th century, ibid., p. 233. Compare also the brushpot dated to the early Qing period, signed Jiyou zhongxia Gu Zongyu zhi, 'Made by Gu Zongyu in the Summer of Jiyou year', in the Palace Museum Collection, illustrated in The Palace Museum Collection of Elite Carvings, Forbidden City Publishing House, 2002, p. 55, no. 26. The Palace Museum brushpot is densely carved with a continuous birthday celebration scene depicting Xi Wang Wu, the mythical Queen of the West, seated in an open carriage; and it is possible that the Jiyou year in this instance corresponds to 1669.