Qu Yingshao’s biography is outlined in Li Jingkang and Zhang Hong, A Pictorial Study of the Teapots of Yangxian, Hong Kong, 1937, where it is discussed how he mostly designed and commissioned teapots and then decorated them with his friend and fellow seal carver Deng Gui. ‘Teapots of good quality Qu Yingshao would personally inscribe and decorate with carved bamboo or prunus’.
In traditional Yixing connoisseurship, this classic ‘stone-dipper’ (shipiao) shape is commonly referred to as Ziye-form, after Qu Yinshao who innovated this iconic form, so versatile with its extended flat surface space, perfectly proportioned for the carefully positioned engraved calligraphy and painting. Another teapot of this form, made in collaboration with Qiao Zhongxi, formerly in Zhang Hong’s Bishan Huguang Collection and now preserved in the Bei Shan Tang collection, illustrated in Li Jingkang and Zhang Hong, A Pictorial Study of the Teapots of Yangxian, Hong Kong, 1937, p. 37, was included in the exhibition The Bei Shan Tang Legacy. Yixing Zisha Stoneware, Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2015, cat. no. 28. It shares the same distinct form and delicate fluency of incised bamboo decoration. Compare also another ‘ziye’ teapot made by Yang Pengnian and similarly incised with a design of bamboo by Qu Yingshao, sold at Bonhams Hong Kong, 24th November 2013, lot 103, from the collection of Mr and Mrs Jimmy Sha.
Compare also a ‘stone-dipper’ teapot by Qu Yingshao from the Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, similarly incised with bamboo and calligraphy, illustrated in Terese Tse Bartholomew, I-Hsing Ware, China House Gallery, China Institute of America, New York, 1977, cat. no. 19; and a closely related teapot incised by Qu Yingshao with bamboo and willow, from the collection of Max Robertson, illustrated in Paul Moss, Documentary Chinese Works of Art. In Scholar’s Taste, London, Sydney L. Moss Ltd., 1983, pl. 91.
For other Qu Yingshao teapots sold at auction, see the example formerly in the collections of Pang Yuanji and Thomas Lee, sold in these rooms 2nd June 2016, lot 31, from the Water, Pine and Stone Retreat collection, and another included in the exhibitions Yixing Pottery, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1981, cat. no. 62, and Arts from the Scholar's Studio, Hong Kong, 1986, cat. no. 107, subsequently sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 23rd October 2005, lot 135, from the Mary and George Bloch collection. For a bamboo painting by Qu Yingshao, see Bamboos and Rocks, inscribed and signed with a seal of the artist, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 27th May 2013, lot 758, from the K.S. Lo collection.
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