An ivory brushpot, bitong 17th century
Lot 453Y
An ivory brush pot, bitong 17th century
Sold for £16,800 (US$ 28,290) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
An ivory brush pot, bitong
17th century
The cylindrical vessel carved in low relief with an official holding a staff riding on a horse flanked by a groom holding the reins in one hand and a whip in the other, with the other attendant holding a fan, all approaching a scholar and his attendant about to uncover a bird cage within a fenced garden, all amidst pine in a mountainous landscape with pagodas, the wood base mounted in silver.
Overall 16.4cm (6½in) high


  • Provenance: Professor Max Esterer, Germany.

    Professor Esterer spent 17 years in China between the First World War and the Second Sino-Japanese War. During his stay in China he is said to have befriended Chiang Kai Shek, who on the former's return to Germany sent him tea to Bavaria for the next ten years.

    Compare an ivory brushpot of identical subject matter, attributed to the late Ming Dynasty, similarly carved in low relief with a mounted official and attendants on one side and a scholar and attendants on the other, but also with a poetic inscription, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Bamboo, Wood, Ivory and Rhinoceros Horn Carvings, Hong Kong, 2002, pl.100. The carving symbolises that a journey must be endured even through the harsh prolonged winter (Ten Years of Winter, Shi nian han chuang).
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  1. Asaph Hyman
    Specialist - Chinese Works of Art
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