Lot 720
  • 720


30,000 - 50,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • porcelain
  • Height 32 1/4  in., 82 cm; Width 7 7/8  in., 20 cm
each finely painted in a soft palette, the first with a scholar holding a wood staff accompanied by his attendant holding a basket of chrysanthemum blossoms under gnarled pine trees, the second with a flamboyant peacock standing atop rockwork under a wutong tree, the third with a carp swimming toward a group of small fishes frolicking among clusters of waterweeds, the fourth with a scholar sitting on a rock cliff under overhanging pine trees in a mountainous landscape, all plaques with poetic inscriptions followed by artist seals, two dated wuchen year, corresponding to 1928, framed (4)

Catalogue Note

These masterfully painted panels represent the new styles pursued by porcelain artists upon the fall of the Qing dynasty. With imperial orders discontinued, craftsmen in the porcelain center of Jingdezhen were released from the constraints of the court and eagerly sought to develop new markets. In 1928 eight of the leading artists formed a group called Yueman hui (Full Moon Society), as they met to exchange ideas during the full moon. This group later became known as Zhushan Bayou (Eight friends of Zhushan), comprised of Wang Qi, Cheng Yiting, Deng Bishan, Wang Dafan, Wang Yeting, He Xuren, Bi Botao, Xu Zhongnan and Tian Hexian.

Wang Qi (1884-1937), a native of Xinjianxian, Jiangxi province, went to Jingdezhen at the age of seventeen and was the founding member of Zhushan Bayou. The development of his mature style can be traced to a trip he made to Shanghai in 1916 to see an exhibition of paintings by the Yangzhou Baguai (Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou). Wang was so impressed by the paintings of Huang Shen, one of the Eight Eccentrics, that he started to emulate Huang’s style in porcelain design. This influence can be seen in the present lot with his use of rapid and expressive brushstrokes to create whimsical, exaggerated figures with calligraphic inscriptions in cursive script, all within a sparse setting. By fusing Huang’s style with Western painting techniques, such as the use of light and shade, Wang’s personal style emerged. Comparable panels include a set of four sold in these rooms, 17th-18th March 2015, lot 295; and another included in the exhibition Brush and Clay. Chinese Porcelain of the Early 20th Century, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1990, cat. no. 29.

Cheng Yiting (1895-1948), a native of Leping, Jiangxi province, began learning to paint on porcelain from the age of sixteen at the Jiangxi Ceramics School in Poyang. In 1925 he moved from Jiujiang to Jingdezhen and set up his own business before traveling to Shanghai in 1931 to study under the Zhe School artist, Cheng Zhang (1869-1938). It was during this period that his skills greatly improved and developed the exquisite bird and flower painting style for which he is most famous. Two plaques decorated in a similar style were included in the exhibition ibid., cat. nos 47 and 48. Yu Jiantian was a student of Cheng, and was heavily influenced by Cheng’s subtle tonal gradations.

Deng Bishan (1874-1930), a native of Yuganxian, Jiangxi province, excelled in painting fish swimming amongst aquatic plants in a style that reflects a degree of Japanese influence. Well educated and a skilled calligrapher, he was highly respected by porcelain painters in Jingdezhen, teaching Wang Qi calligraphy and portrait painting on porcelain. A set of four fish plaques, from the collection of the Hon. Andrew Li Kwok Nang, was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 1st December 2010, lot 2832; and another was included in the exhibition ibid., cat. no. 82, together with four smaller plaques, cat. nos 78-81.