QING DYNASTY, QIANLONG/JIAQING PERIOD
of cylindrical form, finely carved to the exterior through the red lacquer in varying levels of relief, with a continuous figural landscape scene depicting the 'Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove', engaged in various scholarly pursuits, one playing a qin, another seated at a table with paint brush poised to write calligraphy, with three attendants at hand offering assistance, all within a fenced garden with elaborate rockwork amid bamboo, pine, pawlonia and other lush vegetation, on the edge of a large expanse of water, with a pavilion amid rolling hills in the distance, supported by a waisted pedestal base encircled by a band of keyfret and decorated with a floral diaper resting on four short ruyi-head feet, the interior and base lacquered black
Carved lacquer brushpots are rare and it is most unusual to find one with such deep and meticulous carving. The present brushpot is also unusual for its well preserved condition with the many layers of delicate relief decoration intact. Like Ming dynasty lacquers, Qing dynasty lacquer wares were highly esteemed by the emperors, and with the support of the court, experienced a surge of prolific production and innovation during the Qianlong and Jiaqing periods. One of the most favoured imperial carvers was a Suzhou artist by the name of Feng Shiqi who was known for his strong and detailed bamboo carving. Although a specialist in a different material, it is known that he was commissioned by the Palace to carve lacquer and this brushpot is reminiscent of his carving style.
Only one other lacquer brushpot of closely related form and carving style appears to be recorded; slighlty larger in size and carved with the famous scene of 'Carrying a Qin and Visiting a Friend', but supported on an almost identical stand, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated Zhongguo qiqi quanji, vol. 6, Fuzhou, 1993, pl. 238. This brushpot is incised with a four-character Jiaqing reign mark. See also a brushpot attributed to the Qianlong period carved with the scene of Wang Xizhi exchanging his calligrapy with a geese, in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, included in the exhibition Emperor Ch'ien-lung's Grand Cultural Enterprise, Taipei, 2002, cat.no. I-44.
Compare two further examples of larger lacquer brushpots carved with figures in landscape, illustrated in Carved Lacquer in the Palace Museum, Beijing, 1985, pls. 341, and pl. 279, the former carved with the scene of the 'Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove', and the latter carved with the design of eighteen lohan on a green ground. Both these brushpots are possibly of slightly later date than the present vessel.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale