Jet with inlaid crystal flower centre
Lot 126
An inscribed jet snuff bottle Xiaoyun, possibly Jiang Qingji, 1820–1880 (the bottle: 1750–1870)
Sold for HK$ 168,000 (US$ 21,676) inc. premium
Lot Details
An inscribed jet snuff bottle
Xiaoyun, possibly Jiang Qingji, 1820–1880 (the bottle: 1750–1870)
6.39cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 7, no. 1606


    煤精刻圖刻詞鼻煙壺
    壺:1750~1870
    刻飾:小雲,或許即江清驥刻,1820~1880


    Admiring Blossom

    Jet, and slightly milky, dendritic quartz with green markings; extremely well hollowed, with flat lip and concave foot surrounded by a flat footrim; engraved on one main side with a branch of blossoming prunus, one flower with a cabochon of quartz at its centre, engraved above in running script 'Written by Xiaoyun,' the other main side engraved in running script with the first stanza of a lyric by Zha Li (1716–1783), followed by 'Transcribed by order of second uncle Aishan' and two undesciphered characters in a separate column to the left

    Bottle: 1750–1870
    Engraving: Xiaoyun, possibly Jiang Qingji, 1820–1880
    Height: 6.39 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.65/2.52 cm
    Stopper: tourmaline, carved in low relief with a design of a crane flying above a pine tree, made from half a bead
    Condition: miniscule chip in the outer lip rim; two small abrasions on the foot; the inlaid cabochon probably a later addition to conceal a chip in the surface; the usual pattern of scratches and abrasions from use, not the least bit obtrusive


    Provenance:
    Robert Hall (1991)

    Published:
    Kleiner 1995, no. 312
    Treasury 7, no. 1606

    Exhibited:
    British Museum, London, June-October 1995
    Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July-November 1997

    Commentary:

    Zha Li's lyric quoted here was written to the tune Qitian le. It reads:
    Midday chess pieces clatter, breaking into a dream
    where I pursue the delights of spring,
    To find outside the window apricot blossoms
    have opened wide.
    I'm now awake from last night's wine;
    A new lyric starts to take shape,
    When it's announced someone looking for fragrant
    blossoms has arrived.
    We exchange a smile,
    As shadows fall, and fragrance wafts.
    Swallows at dusk and orioles at dawn.
    My thin hair urges me to pin it up;
    Before the goblets please don't make fun of how old I am.
    The original poem has a short preface indicating that the lyric was written when friends visited on the fourteenth of the second month and they all wrote lyrics together. Any bottle on which this stanza is engraved would be a gift from a nephew to an uncle who spends his time drinking, writing ci lyrics, and enjoying the delights of spring.
    As to the identity of Xiaoyun, there were at least ten people recorded as adopting this name as a zi during the Qing dynasty and one more in the Republican period. The most plausible choice is Jiang Qingji (zi: Xiaoyun, hao: Yiyuan). Jiang, whose hao was Yiyuan, was a native of Qiantang (present-day Hangzhou) in Zhejiang province. After attaining the juren degree in the twentieth year of the Daoguang period (1840), he served as an intendant of the Changzhen circuit in Jiangsu province. An acclaimed calligrapher, he was particularly talented in writing seal, clerical, running, and cursive scripts.


    探芳

    煤精,略乳白色呈碧色樹枝狀斑紋的石英;掏膛非常完整,平唇、凹底、平底圈足;一正面刻一枝梅花,一朵花中心鑲嵌凸圓形石英, 上題"小雲寫"一款識, 另一正面刻查禮(1716~1781)"齊天樂"詞上闋,其後題"愛山二叔命書,孝旺"

    壺:1750~1870
    刻飾:小雲,或許即江清驥刻,1820~1880
    長:6.39厘米
    口經/唇經:0.65/2.52 厘米
    蓋:碧璽,半球碧璽淺浮雕蒼松飛鶴
    狀態敘述:唇緣有細小缺口,底有兩處小擦傷,石英大概是製成後為了掩飾缺口而鑲嵌的;壺表面因累年觸摸而呈現一般性的磨損與擦痕

    來源:
    羅伯特.霍爾(1991)
    文獻:
    Kleiner 1995,編號312
    Treasury 7,編號1606
    展覽﹕
    大英博物館, 倫敦, 1995年6月~10 月
    Israel Museum, 耶路撒冷, 1997年7月~11月

    說明:
    這又是伯樂珍藏由文人學士刻飾的傑作。小雲是誰,沒有線索。清朝至少有十來個人字小雲,民國還有一個。我們姑且選錢唐人江清驥(字小雲,號頤園,一說字淵如,號小雲;1840年舉人)為可能性比較大的人,但沒有甚麼具體根據。
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