An inscribed lacquer 'landscape' snuff bottle Xifeng shanren
Lot 20
An inscribed lacquer 'lady in the garden' snuff bottle 'Hermit of the Western Peak', dated 1891
Sold for HK$ 144,000 (US$ 18,567) inc. premium

Lot Details
An inscribed lacquer 'landscape' snuff bottle Xifeng shanren, dated 1891 An inscribed lacquer 'landscape' snuff bottle Xifeng shanren, dated 1891 An inscribed lacquer 'landscape' snuff bottle Xifeng shanren, dated 1891 An inscribed lacquer 'landscape' snuff bottle Xifeng shanren, dated 1891 An inscribed lacquer 'landscape' snuff bottle Xifeng shanren, dated 1891 An inscribed lacquer 'landscape' snuff bottle Xifeng shanren, dated 1891 An inscribed lacquer 'landscape' snuff bottle Xifeng shanren, dated 1891
An inscribed lacquer 'lady in the garden' snuff bottle
'Hermit of the Western Peak', dated 1891
6.3cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 7, no. 1532

    漆刻仕女圖鼻煙壺
    西峰山人,1891年

    Lady Flautist

    Variegated dark brown lacquer on wood; with a flat lip and protruding flat foot; engraved on one main side with a scene of a woman standing on a low-walled terrace with a rigid fan held at her side and a flute in her left hand, with a plantain and a perforated natural rock formation behind her, inscribed in running script with a poetic description of the scene, followed by 'Made by Xifeng shanren in the xinmao year of the Guangxu period', and on the other main side with a poem in running script, followed by the signature, Xifeng shanren zuo (made by Xifeng shanren), followed by one seal of the artist, Xifeng
    Xifeng shanren, 1891
    Height: 6.3 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.51/1.92 cm
    Stopper: ivory; glass collar

    Condition: chip on inner lip; lacquer worn off outer lip, with one chip restored (0.48 cm across); some tiny minor dents in outer foot; usual pattern of scratches and wear from use. General relative condition: very good

    Provenance:
    Hugh Moss (HK) Ltd (1998)

    Published:
    JICSBS, Winter 1999, p.11, figs. 10–12
    Treasury 7, no. 1532

    Commentary:
    This is constructed in the same way as some of Lu Dong's snuff bottles, in this case with the addition of a thin layer of lacquer on the interior surface, although not enough to conceal its construction in two parts. It is of variegated dark brown lacquer, although it may appear black at first sight.

    No other engraved bottles are known by this artist, and we can find no convincing match with any known scholar. The artistic name (hao) Xifeng (without the shanren indicating a hermit) was adopted by an eighteenth-century scholar, Zhang Zhechun (Yu Jianhua 1981, p. 853) but unless he maintained a very steady hand well into his second century, he cannot have been involved so late; he attained his juren degree in 1747. It may be that our mysterious Xifeng shanren (Hermit of the Western Peak) was a late-Qing scholar who rarely decorated a snuff bottle and from whom only one seems to have survived. Once it became fashionable for scholars skilled with the 'iron brush' or diamond point to use their painterly and calligraphic skills directly on soft materials, any artist might produce a snuff bottle or two without making a career out of it.

    The couplet accompanying the picture reads

    Tonight the fresh coolness makes autumn enjoyable.
    Under a bright moon she hugs her companion and practises playing the flute.

    This is the second half of a poem entitled 'Huaixian' (Cherishing Thoughts of an Immortal); it is quoted in a collection of random anecdotes (Xiqing sanji, juan 3, p. 189 of the 1987 Beijing edition) attributed to Shi Zhenlin (1692–1778), where the observation is made that this version is superior to another wording, where 'she hugs her companion' is written with graphically similar characters meaning 'by the storied building', resulting in a sanitized version in which the sexual meaning of 'playing the flute' is veiled (just as it is ignored in the picture on this bottle).

    The text on the other main side is a lyric by Su Shi (1037–1101) to the tune Xingxiangzi. It reads

    On a clear night when the air is fresh,
    The moon dons a silvery sheen,
    Let's fill a wine cup to the brim.
    Pursuit of ephemeral fame and profit:
    Pointless suffering, wearing down the spirit.
    Alas—a horse dashing by a crack, a spark struck from a rock, a life in a dream.

    I embrace literary ambitions, yet
    In whom can I confide my feelings?
    Let's just make merriment;
    Unfetter my inner nature.
    When will I return home,
    Be a man without responsibilities,
    Enjoying the company of a qin,
    A pot of wine,
    By a cloudy stream?

    The first stanza ends with ancient and standard metaphors for the brevity of human life: gone as quickly as a running horse glimpsed through a crack, a spark struck from a stone, or the things experienced in a dream.

    今夜秋意好,明月學吹簫

    木胎斑駁的漆;平唇,突出平底;一正面刻蕉陰弄簫士女圖,其上書"今夜新涼秋意好,明月摟伴學吹簫",其後有"光緒辛卯西峰山作", 另一正面刻蘇軾《行香子》 "清夜無塵"詞,後書"西峰山作",又刻"西峰"印
    西峰山人,1891 年
    高:6.3 厘米
    口經/唇經:0.51/1.92 厘米
    蓋:象牙,玻璃座

    狀態敘述:
    唇內緣有缺口 ,唇外沿的漆磨掉了,有一修補的缺口 (0.48 厘米寬);底外沿有所凹痕,不大; 因積年的使用,表面呈一般性的磨損。總體的相對狀況: 相當好

    來源:
    Hugh Moss (香港) Ltd (1998)

    文獻:
    《國際中國鼻煙壺協會的學術期刊》(JICSBS),1999年冬期, 頁11, 圖 10~12
    Treasury 7, 編號1532

    說明:
    詳細請參閱本煙壺的英文說明。西峰者,未明。題句出自《懷仙》詩,史震林 (1692~1778)編《西青散記》 (1987年北京市中國書店本,頁189) 曰﹕"摟伴作樓畔者,情趣減矣",信矣。
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first HKD800,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from HKD800,001 to HKD1,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12% on the excess over HKD1,000,000 of the Hammer Price.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. Daniel Lam
    Specialist - Whisky
    Bonhams
    Work
    Suite 2001, One Pacific Place
    Hong Kong
    Work +852 3607 0004
    FaxFax: +852 2918 4320
Similar Items