An inscribed chalcedony 'Li Shizhi' snuff bottle Suzhou, school of Zhiting, 1740–1850
Lot 31
An inscribed chalcedony 'Li Shizhi' snuff bottle Suzhou, school of Zhiting, 1740–1850
Sold for HK$ 288,000 (US$ 37,103) inc. premium

Lot Details
An inscribed chalcedony 'Li Shizhi' snuff bottle Suzhou, school of Zhiting, 1740–1850 An inscribed chalcedony 'Li Shizhi' snuff bottle Suzhou, school of Zhiting, 1740–1850 An inscribed chalcedony 'Li Shizhi' snuff bottle Suzhou, school of Zhiting, 1740–1850 An inscribed chalcedony 'Li Shizhi' snuff bottle Suzhou, school of Zhiting, 1740–1850 An inscribed chalcedony 'Li Shizhi' snuff bottle Suzhou, school of Zhiting, 1740–1850 An inscribed chalcedony 'Li Shizhi' snuff bottle Suzhou, school of Zhiting, 1740–1850 An inscribed chalcedony 'Li Shizhi' snuff bottle Suzhou, school of Zhiting, 1740–1850 An inscribed chalcedony 'Li Shizhi' snuff bottle Suzhou, school of Zhiting, 1740–1850 An inscribed chalcedony 'Li Shizhi' snuff bottle Suzhou, school of Zhiting, 1740–1850 An inscribed chalcedony 'Li Shizhi' snuff bottle Suzhou, school of Zhiting, 1740–1850 An inscribed chalcedony 'Li Shizhi' snuff bottle Suzhou, school of Zhiting, 1740–1850 An inscribed chalcedony 'Li Shizhi' snuff bottle Suzhou, school of Zhiting, 1740–1850 An inscribed chalcedony 'Li Shizhi' snuff bottle Suzhou, school of Zhiting, 1740–1850
An inscribed chalcedony 'Li Shizhi' snuff bottle
Suzhou, school of Zhiting, 1740–1850
6.02cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 2, no. 367

    玉髓雕李適之酌杯圖鼻煙壺
    蘇州,芝亭流派,1740-1850

    The Vice Minister's Hobby

    Chalcedony; with a concave lip and flat foot; carved with a continuous, partially cameo scene of Li Shizhi seated on a rocky bank drinking from a small wine-cup, his attendant behind him, poised with a wine-pot to replenish it, a wine jar of crackled porcelain at his feet and another behind him, with a weiqi board, and in front of him a string of cash, set in a rocky landscape with pine trees and lingzhi beneath a band of formalized clouds, inscribed in incised draft script 'The Vice Minister's daily hobby costs ten thousand cash.'
    Suzhou, school of Zhiting, 1740–1850
    Height: 6.02 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.7/2.0 cm
    Stopper: marble; gilt bronze collar

    Condition: slight concavity of lip may not be original; it is impossible to tell; otherwise, workshop condition

    Provenance:
    Hugh Moss (1987)

    Published:
    Moss 1971, p. 65, no. 168 and p.71, no. 185
    Kleiner 1987, no. 153
    1987 Exhibition Poster, London
    Treasury 2, no. 367

    Exhibited:
    Sydney L. Moss Ltd, London, October 1987
    Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993

    Commentary:
    With the large group of chalcedony bottles attributable to the school in the Bloch Collection, and those already published elsewhere, we are in a position to establish certain stylistic features for the Zhiting school at its best, which we think was probably during the Qianlong period into the early nineteenth century. We have here multiple-serrated-line rocks and formalized cloud-scroll at the shoulders, providing a convenient upper frame for the picture. These formalized cloud-scrolls as picture dividers or frames were a typical Ming pictorial device carried over into the Qing. On transitional porcelain wares, they are the most common way of applying a painting to an essentially cylindrical or rounded form to give a modicum of continuity to the joining of the opposite ends of the flat picture. A vertical series of scrolling clouds provided both separation and continuity as each end of the picture dissolved into mist.

    We also see here an evolved serrated rock style, which became a popular alternative for the school, where a similar idea of serial lines and serrations are more evenly distributed, with larger, elongated indentations or serrations. These 'cheese-grater' rocks are seen here in the darker area high on the reverse main side as an overhanging outcrop in brown, giving way to a small area of grey rocks and then mist.

    There are also two mature pine trees of characteristic style, their trunks and branches skillfully carved with a series of twists, knot-holes, wrinkles, and lines to simulate the gnarled appearance of an ancient pine. The trunk and branches are carved with supremely graceful, calligraphic élan, and lead to distinctive clusters of formalized pine needles, made up of circles with incised lines radiating out from a small, circular central depression, characteristically made up predominantly of the darker colour in the material. Immediately beyond the string of cash are two long-stemmed, small oval-headed lingzhi growing in a clump, standard for the school unless these fungi are the main subject, in which case they tend to be carved larger and more realistically. Otherwise the figures are typical, with either the head or just the face carved on a lower plane out of the ground colour, while all or some of the clothing is in the darker tone.

    The bodies are convincingly depicted, in very natural poses with superbly carved, well rounded clothing draped over the bodies. Every hint of colour is put to good use in a delightful ink-play where some of the work is strictly cameo work, cut from a higher plane of different colour while some is interpretation of colour that sinks more deeply into the ground material.

    Although the Zhiting school, whether in jade or quartz, rarely left much in the way of purely natural markings in the stone to serve as subject matter as the Official School artists so often did, they are, nonetheless, often consummate ink-play agates.

    Every nuance of colour in the stone is used to good advantage and the subject must to some extent be interpreted from the existing markings even though it is then fully realized as a representational scene.

    The inscription here is from 'Song of the Eight Wine Immortals', a well-known poem by the Tang literatus Du Fu (712-770) that is full of half-hidden references to reasons why the eight contemporaries celebrated in the poem had reasons to hide their frustrations behind a façade of carefree drinking. The vice minister is Li Shizhi, and the three lines devoted to him are

    The minister of the left in his daily gusto spends ten thousand in cash,
    Drinking like a huge whale sucking up a hundred rivers:
    Cup to lip, he enjoys the 'sage' and declares he will avoid the 'worthy'.

    'Sage' and 'worthy' are old euphemisms for clear and cloudy wine, respectively, but 'the worthy' is here also a veiled reference to those who worked to isolate him within the administration and would force him out of his position in 746, two years after the poem was written.

    In common with most of this group, the hollowing here is good but not extensive, the lip concave, and the foot flat without any footrim.

    左相趁興,詩史垂名

    玉髓,凹唇,平底;雕與巧雕通體李適之飲酒圖, 有侍者、兩個裂紋酒壺、圍棋盤、一貫錢等,在雲紋之下、松樹和靈芝之間刻有杜甫《飲中八仙歌》"左相日興費萬錢"一句蘇州,芝亭流派,1740~1850年
    高:6.02 厘米
    口經/唇經:0.7/2.0 厘米
    蓋:大理石;描金青銅座

    狀態敘述:
    唇的凹面可能是原有的,難以辨認;此外,出坊狀態

    來源:
    莫士撝 (1987)

    文獻:
    Moss 1971, 頁 65, 編號168 及 頁71, 編號185
    Kleiner 1987, 編號153
    1987 年展覽海報,倫敦
    Treasury 2, 編號367

    展覽:
    Sydney L. Moss Ltd, 倫敦, 1987年10月
    Creditanstalt, 維也納, 1993年5月~6月

    說明:
    根據伯樂珍藏所收眾多的玉髓鼻煙壺和已經發表的同類煙壺,我們可以擬定芝流派旺盛 時期——即乾隆年間到十九世紀初的》特色。坡石以一層一層斧砍輪廓的平面形成(背面肩部的暗色巖層就是比較進展的風格),雲紋有界定畫幅的功能 。松樹和靈芝的形狀也是典型的。用地色雕人的臉,用斑紋雕人的衣服等,也是芝亭流派的通例。跟一般的芝亭流派產品一樣,掏膛精工而不徹底,唇成凹形,底無圈足而完全接觸地面。

    "左相"就是742年為左承相的李適之,因746年被李林甫排擠罷相,他就賦詩云﹕"避賢初罷相,樂聖且銜杯。為問門前客,今朝幾個來?"巧用清酒和濁酒的代稱,杜甫有名的柏梁體《飲中八仙歌》詠第三個"酒中仙"說"左相日興費萬錢,飲如長鯨吸百川,銜杯樂聖稱避賢"。後人多忽略杜甫暗示飲中八人所面臨的逆境而喜愛其素描放達和浪漫的表面,如此題目的畫和工藝品在清朝特別多。
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% up to HKD800,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from HKD800,001 to HKD15,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12% over HKD15,000,000 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