Lot 3419
  • 3419

A BAMBOO 'SCROLLING CLOUD' INKSTICK REST MARK AND PERIOD OF QIANLONG, DATED WUSHEN YEAR (IN ACCORDANCE WITH 1788) |

Estimate
300,000 - 400,000 HKD
Sold
bidding is closed

Description

  • 9.7 cm, 3 3/4  in.
of rectangular form, deftly carved in openwork as ruyi-shaped cloud swirls resting on four small ruyi-shaped scroll feet, the underside incised with a four-character reign mark reading Qianlong wushen above a seal mark reading Wang Qi, the bamboo patinated to a warm honey-brown tone

Catalogue Note

Inkstick rests fashioned in bamboo are extremely rare and even more unusual are those bearing an imperial cyclical date and a seal mark as seen on this example. The inscription reads Qianlong wushen which corresponds to 1788 of the Qianlong reign, and the seal reads Wang Qi which may be a reference to the second half of the 18th century carver artist Wang Yi. Wang Yi was a native of Jiading in Jiangsu province, and became renowned for his flower carvings, especially orchids. He was the son of Wang Zhi and the grandson of Wang Zhiyu, and had an extensive career, working till the age of seventy, when he died. The present inkstick rest is remarkable for the delicate and highly skilled carving of a simple yet most endearing subject matter of auspicious ‘wish-granting’ ruyi shaped clouds (ruyi yun). Clouds in China were also used as a pun for fortune (yun), while they also stand for high rank in office as clouds dwell high in the sky. While the cloud motif is well known from decoration found on decorative arts, especially ceramics, to see it in a three dimensional form is very unusual. Inkstick rests were part of the paraphernalia found on the scholar’s desk in his studio. A complete set of scholar’s tools made in bamboo veneer, which includes an inkstick rest, is in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Ji Rexin, Ming Qing zhuke yishu/The Art of Ming and Qing Bamboo Carving, Taipei, 1999, fig. 62.

See an unmarked bamboo inkstick rest carved in the round in the form of two clumps of plum blossoms, illustrated in Simon Kwan, Ming and Qing Bamboo, Hong Kong, 200, pl. 63, attributed to the early Qing period, together with an inkstick rest carved with a scene depicting the nine elders of Xiang shan, attributed to the late Qing dynasty, pl. 147.

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