185
185
AN IMPRESSED ‘DOUBLE-GOURD’ VASE
ATTRIBUTED TO LEI BUJI
REPUBLICAN PERIOD
Estimate
80,000100,000
LOT SOLD. 150,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
185
AN IMPRESSED ‘DOUBLE-GOURD’ VASE
ATTRIBUTED TO LEI BUJI
REPUBLICAN PERIOD
Estimate
80,000100,000
LOT SOLD. 150,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Water, Pine and Stone Retreat Collection, Scholarly Art III

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Hong Kong

AN IMPRESSED ‘DOUBLE-GOURD’ VASE
ATTRIBUTED TO LEI BUJI
REPUBLICAN PERIOD
of double-gourd form, impressed on the lower bulb with a phoenix, its head turned back towards its body detailed with layers of plummage, further adorned with a long elaborate tail, perched on a rocky outcrop amongst blooming peonies, beneath the moon partially hidden behind scrolling clouds on the upper bulb, the reverse with an apocryphal inscription in clerical script Jiaqing liu nian sui zai xinyou chun er yue wanghou yiri, Xingyouheng Tang zhi (‘made by the Xingyouheng Tang [‘Hall of Constancy’] on the sixteenth day of the second month, spring, of the xinyu year, the sixth year of the Jiaqing reign’, corresponding to 1801), followed by a square seal Xingyouheng Tang, the gourd well patinated to an attractive deep brown tone, fitted zitan stand
23.9 cm., 9 3/8  in.
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Provenance

Collection of Dr. Ip Yee, Hong Kong, circa 1980.

Exhibited

Gerard Tsang and Hugh Moss, ‘Chinese Decorated Gourds’, International Asian Antiques Fair, Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 1983, p. 68, no. 27.
Gerard Tsang and Hugh Moss, Arts from the Scholar’s Studio, Fung Ping Shan Museum, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 1986, cat. no. 108.

Literature

Seefoon Koppen, ‘Decorated Gourds’, In Asia, Autumn, 1983, p. 41.

Catalogue Note

Chinese art historian and scholar Wang Shixiang has identified the present gourd vase as the work of Lei Buji, also known as Little Lei, a highly skilled craftsman working in Beijing in the early decades of the 20th century. See Wang Shixiang, The Charm of Gourd, Hong Kong, 1993, p. 98, where he discusses three artisans who were active during the 1920s and 30s, amongst them Little Lei. He would roam the ghost market at Deshengmen in Beijing before dawn where he would pick up gourds and decorate them with designs in the special technique of impressing with implements made of horn or ivory. Lei did this skilfully without cutting the gourd, and while the technique is often described as a type of carving, however, the process does not involve carving at all.

For other pieces by Lei see a gourd vase sold in these rooms, 4th April 2012, lot 166; a cylindrical brushpot included in the Gems of Beijing Cultural Relics Series: Works of Decorative Arts (I), Beijing, 2006, p. 110, pl. 88; and a pear-form vase decorated with landscape and figural scenes within four panels, sold in these rooms, 8th October 2010, lot 2233, formerly also in the collection of Dr. Ip Yee.

The Xingyouheng Tang ('Hall of Constancy') belonged to the fifth Prince Ding, Zaichuan, who was a great-great-grandson of the Qianlong emperor and inherited the title upon the death of his father in 1836. However, the mark on the present vase was added by Lei, as he did on the gourd vase sold in these rooms in 2012 mentioned above.

Water, Pine and Stone Retreat Collection, Scholarly Art III

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Hong Kong