Yiru jushi, attributed to Beijing, 1805 (the bottle 1760-1805) 6.4cm high.
Treasury 4, no. 438
水晶內畫漁樵蘭竹石鼻煙壺 壺： 1760-1805 內畫： 一如居士，可推定為在北京畫，1805年
The King of Fragrance
Crystal and ink; with a flat lip and protruding concave foot surrounded by a flat footrim; painted on one main side with a fisherman talking to a woodcutter, with the inscription 'Executed in imitation of the brushwork of Gao shangshu ('Gao, President of the Board [of Punishment]')', the other main side with an encomium on snuff, followed by the signature 'Yiru jushi', the four narrower panels containing two separate subjects, one of an orchid flowering near a convoluted rock, inscribed 'Executed in imitation of the brush manner of Shitian', followed by the signature 'Zhongchang' and 'The King of Fragrance', followed by the Manchu signature 'Yun Jeng', the other of bamboo growing near rocks, inscribed 'Recorded on a winter day in the year yichou,' followed by the signature 'Banshan', and 'There is no Dharma outside the mind', the inscriptions all in regular script, with the exception of the last, which is in clerical script Bottle: 17601805 Painting: Yiru jushi, attributed to Beijing, winter, 1805 Height: 6.4 cm Mouth/lip: 0.52/1.9 cm Stopper: jadeite; vinyl collar
Condition: Bottle: several practically invisible, miniscule chips to edges of facets, and one slightly ground small chip to outer footrim, none of it obtrusive; otherwise in workshop condition. Painting: interior stained with snuff, with some spoon scratching in the snuff stains and a little into the ink, but fairly minor damage to painting. General relative condition: very good
Provenance: The Kaynes-Klitz Collection Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 30 October 1990, lot 161
Published: Snuff Bottle Review, edited by Michael J. Kaynes, nos. 5 and 6, May and June 1975, p. 7 JICSBS, Winter 1990, p. 41 Arts of Asia, MarchApril 1991, p. 165 Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 296 Ttreasury 4, no. 438
Exhibited: Hong Kong Museum of Art, MarchJune 1994 National Museum, Singapore, November 1994February 1995 Christie's, London, 1999
Commentary: The President of the Board of Punishment, Mr. Gao, refers to the painter Gao Kegong (12481310). Shitian was the hao, or literary name, of the famous Ming scholar-painter Shen Zhou (14271509), and the 'King of Fragrance' refers to the orchid.
Yiru jushi was one hao or sobriquet of Hongwu (d. 1811), a grandson of the Kangxi emperor accomplished in poetry, painting, and calligraphy. If Hongwu is our artist (we have no direct evidence to prove it), it would help explain his mention of Gao Kegong as a source. Gao was a Uighur, an outsider and to the Chinese a barbarian, who attained a high post in the alien Mongol dynasty that ruled as the Yuan dynasty. Hongwu was an outsider, a Manchu, who achieved high position under the alien Manchu rulers of Qing China.
The encomium on snuff inscribed on one of the main sides of the bottle reads:
Brought from beyond the seas, this herb of the immortals from beyond the passes: Its flavour in the bottle can be endlessly praised. At the early court, one sniff clears the mind and eyes; On a night journey, a tiny scoop will protect one from the pestilential vapours.
Several of Yiru jushi's bottles bear Manchu signatures. There are two: Jun Weng doo zin ('Jun Weng, follower of the Dao'), which appears only on one bottle in the Mack Collection (Sotheby's, New York, 25 October 1997, lot 377) and Yun Jeng, which appears here and on all the other known examples with Manchu signatures.