An inscribed white glass snuff bottle Ding Jun, dated 1887 (the bottle 1710–1780)
Lot 30
An inscribed white glass snuff bottle Ding Jun, dated 1887 (the bottle 1710–1780)
Sold for HK$ 72,000 (US$ 9,290) inc. premium
Lot Details
An inscribed white glass snuff bottle
Ding Jun, dated 1887 (the bottle 1710–1780)
7.31cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 5, no. 1059

    玻璃刻博古圖鼻煙壺
    壺: 1710-1780
    刻雕: 丁竣,1887年

    Emerging Star

    Translucent white glass; with a concave lip and recessed, flat, bulging-rectangular foot; engraved on one main side with a perforated, natural rock sculpture set in a grassy bank with three fan-tailed goldfish swimming in a pond beside it and leafy branches above, and on the other with a group of auspicious objects (a perforated natural rock sculpture, a vase decorated with flowering peonies, containing lingzhi and blossoming prunus branches, a flared, rectangular planter with calamus grass, and a teapot, probably of Yixing pottery), inscribed in draft script, 'Painted by Ding Jun, [alias] Qiansheng in an autumn month of the year dinghai, with one seal of the artist in negative seal script, Ding
    Bottle: 1710–1780
    Decoration: Ding Jun, 1887
    Height: 7.31 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.65 cm
    Stopper: coral, carved as a formalized lingzhi head; horn collar

    Condition: wear to lip and tiny chip in centre of the lip; tiny chip in foot, but possibly part of original process of manufacture. General relative condition: excellent

    Provenance:
    Phillip Allen
    Robert Kleiner (1997)

    Published:
    Treasury 5, no. 1059

    Commentary:
    Although the name of Ding Jun appears on none of the other engraved bottles we have succeeded in locating, many of the illustrations in our records of inscriptions on finely-engraved bottles are of insufficiently high quality to enable us to read them. Ding Jun (zi Qiansheng), born in 1829, was a native of Nanchang in Jiangxi province. His name in most sources, including the Qing shilu [Actual records of the Qing dynasty], is written Jun 峻 instead of the Jun 竣 we have on this bottle, but there seems to be little reason to suspect we are not talking about the same person. His mentor, Peng Yulin (1816–1890), who commanded the central Yangzi fleet against the Taiping rebels in the mid-century, was a noted painter of plum blossoms, and Ding Jun is said to have been good at painting horses. The two men would exemplify the man of action who is also a man of art. Ding was rumoured to have been involved once with pirates or secret societies, and it is interesting to note that his zi, Qiansheng, means 'stealthily multiplying', and is a term often applied to brigands. Equally intriguing, when Ding Jun was surveillance commissioner of Anhui province (he was acting surveillance commissioner there in 1885; see Chen and Zhao 1992, p. 694), he would sit on a heavy iron chair every day, concentrate his spirit, and levitate himself and the chair (Li, Xu, and Shi 1997, p. 818).

    The Qing shilu tells us that Ding Jun was a prefect in Anhui earlier (in 1859) and was made surveillance commissioner of Zhejiang later (in the seventh month of 1896); biographical dictionaries mention only the latter posting. In any case, this raises the question of whether his assignments obliged him to travel to Beijing from time to time, thus allowing him to become aware of the enormous popularity of the inside painted bottles of Zhou Leyuan in the capital from the early 1880s onwards. The fanciful rocks depicted here are of the style that appealed to a number of nineteenth-century painters, from whom both Zhou and Ding could have taken inspiration. If, as a painter of horses, Ding succeeded in passing on the tradition of the Yuan painter Zhao Mengfu, as is commonly said, he must have been very much in touch with the art world of his own time as well as having some kind of access to the heritage of the past. But the remarkable similarity of both subjects on this bottle to the works of Zhou Leyuan suggest that Ding's inspiration came from the Beijing inside painter. In the still-life scene not only are the objects depicted identical to the oft-painted subject by Zhou, but so is the composition, with the vertically aligned rock in front, partially obscuring the planters and teapot. Greater liberty has been taken with the scene of goldfish, where Zhou's rocky bank has been transformed into a standing strange stone, but the three goldfish beneath a rock, with foliage growing nearby remains very much a Zhou Leyuan composition.

    Ding was a supremely confident engraver, and it seems unlikely that he produced one bottle only, and that one to such an extraordinary standard. Seeking out more of Ding's works will give us something to anticipate as we approach the next dealer's shop.

    文武雙全

    透光的白色玻璃;凹唇,平面斂底;一正面刻太湖石及金魚, 另一正面刻博古圖,其上題"丁亥秋月潛生丁竣寫",後加白文"丁"印
    壺﹕ 1710~1780年
    刻雕﹕丁竣,1887 年
    高:7.31 厘米
    口經/唇經:0.65 厘米
    蓋:珊瑚雕形式化的靈芝頭;角座

    狀態敘述:
    唇呈磨損,中心有細小的缺口;底或有細小缺口,但也可能是製作過程導致的。總體的相對狀況: 極善

    來源:
    Phillip Allen
    Robert Kleiner (1997)

    文獻:
    Treasury 5, 編號1059

    說明:
    丁竣,字潛生,南昌人,1829年生。竣一般作峻,《清實錄》也作峻,但一定是同一個人。是彭玉麟 (1816~1890) 的門生,兩人文武兼備,彭善畫梅花,丁善畫馬。或說丁竣曾和秘密社團有關係,看他字潛生,讓人連想"賊盜潛生"的詞句。他在安徽當按察使時(他1885年為署按察使,見陳基餘、趙培根1992,頁694),"於密室中置一鐵椅,重若千斤。日必盤坐其上,默運元神,後舒兩臂徐徐挈椅,離地既高,歷時亦久,身不動搖。" (李秉新、徐俊元、石玉新 1997, 頁 818).

    據《清實錄》,丁峻1860年已在安徽知府,以後(光緒二十二年七月),他在浙江作按察使;我們想他很可能因為每幾年要換個職位,經常需要往來北京,有機會知道周樂元的內畫鼻煙壺1880年代以後在京師當紅的情形,也可能是受到了周樂元的影響。本壺在內容和設計兩方面好像是學周樂元的。

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