Studio of Gai Qi (1773-1828), Qing dynasty, early 19th century | 清十九世紀初 改琦（1773-1828年）作坊 白描秘戲圖 一組七幀 水墨紙本
Property from the Bertholet Collection
Studio of Gai Qi (1773-1828)
Qing dynasty, early 19th century
清十九世紀初 改琦（1773-1828年）作坊 白描秘戲圖 一組七幀 水墨紙本
a set of 7 sketches, ink on paper
various dimensions, smallest 23.5 by 18.2 cm, largest 39 by 48.2 cm
Overall good condition with foxing and old stains typical for its age. There are also minor creases, especially to the largest drawing as visible in the online catalogue photos. The largest painting was inspected without removing from its frame.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Ferdinand M. Bertholet, Les Jardins du Plaisir: Érotisme et art dans la Chine ancienne / Gardens of Pleasure: Eroticism and Art in China, Paris, 2003 (rev. English ed., Munich, Berlin, London, New York, 2010), pp. 148-157.
Ferry M. Bertholet, Concubines and Courtesans: Women in Chinese Erotic Art, Brussels, 2010, pl. 64.
貝索烈，《Les Jardins du Plaisir: Érotisme et art dans la Chine ancienne / Gardens of Pleasure: Eroticism and Art in China》，巴黎，2003年（英文再版，慕尼黑、柏林、倫敦、紐約，2010年），頁148-157
貝索烈，《Concubines and Courtesans: Women in Chinese Erotic Art》，布魯塞爾，2010年，圖版64
James Cahill et al., Le Palais du printemps. Peintures érotiques de Chine, Musée Cernuschi, Paris, 2006, p. 32, fig. 1, and pp. 132-141.
Seduced: Art & Sex from Antiquity to Now, Barbican Art Gallery, London, 2007, p. 8.
The Chinese Pleasure Garden: Erotic Art from the Bertholet Collection, Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Berlin, 2011.
高居翰等，《Le Palais du printemps. Peintures érotiques de Chine》，賽努奇博物館，巴黎，2006年，頁32，圖1，及頁132-141
《Seduced: Art & Sex from Antiquity to Now》，巴比肯美術館，倫敦，2007年，頁8
《The Chinese Pleasure Garden: Erotic Art from the Bertholet Collection》，亞洲藝術博物館，柏林，2011年
No erotic paintings datable before the late Ming dynasty appear to have survived. Nevertheless, ink sketches for study, or fenben in Chinese, may shed some light on ancient Chinese erotic art. One such sketch is based on a now-lost Tang dynasty painting, possibly The Secret Play on a Spring Night by the famous painter Zhou Fang (730-800), acquired by the late Ming collector Zhang Chou (1577-1645) in 1618. The sketch depicts an imperial couple – most likely Emperor Tang Xuanzong and his favourite consort Yang Guifei – unadorned except for their elaborate head ornaments and stockings, conjugating with the support of three fully dressed ladies. The large size of the figures in relation to the picture, the tightly framed action, the physical proportions and the stylistic details all conform to Tang dynasty canons (James Cahill, ‘Les peintures érotiques chinoises de la collection Bertholet’, Le Palais du printemps, op. cit., p. 32). The plump female bodies, especially that of the consort, deviate starkly from the aesthetics of later periods. The overt depiction of the female private area also differs from the relatively modest treatment commonly seen in Ming and Qing examples.
Such sketches were used as composition guidelines as well as preparatory drawings, as evident in two sketches in this group which show variations of hand gestures at the margin. It is as if the artist considered different ways of fondling or gestures of flirtation. In two other sketches – one of a man sneaking up to his sleeping partner and the other of a voyeuristic lady behind a sheer curtain secretly observing a love scene – there are handwritten remarks on the details such as the floral pattern of the robe and the translucent fabric. For paintings of matching compositions, see a 19th-century example with an apocryphal seal of Qiu Ying illustrated in ibid., p. 131.
晚明以前的春宮畫作，似乎幾近失傳。然而，我們或可透過倖存下來的珍貴粉本找到古代秘戲圖的蛛絲馬跡。粉本，即古代畫家底稿，也有試繪或記錄構圖的作用。此組粉本其中一幅，應是臨摹唐代大家周昉（730-800年）的〈春宵秘戲圖〉，畫中主角疑為唐玄宗與愛妾楊貴妃。明末藏家張丑（1577-1645年）在《清河書畫舫》中載「絹本〈春宵秘戲圖〉卷，戊午（1618年）七夕獲於太原王氏，乃周昉景元所畫，鷗波亭主所藏。」周昉原作早已佚失，幸乃可從此粉本窺看唐時春宮之秘。人物豐腴，構圖緊湊，各項細節均符合唐代畫風（高居翰，〈Les peintures érotiques chinoises de la collection Bertholet〉，《Le Palais du printemps》，前述出處，頁32）。