An inside-painted glass 'ducks and landscape' snuff bottle Ding Erzhong, dated 1900
Lot 12Y
An inside-painted glass 'ducks and landscape' snuff bottle Ding Erzhong, dated 1900
Sold for HK$ 216,000 (US$ 27,869) inc. premium
Auction Details
An inside-painted glass 'ducks and landscape' snuff bottle Ding Erzhong, dated 1900 An inside-painted glass 'ducks and landscape' snuff bottle Ding Erzhong, dated 1900 An inside-painted glass 'ducks and landscape' snuff bottle Ding Erzhong, dated 1900
Lot Details
An inside-painted glass 'ducks and landscape' snuff bottle
Ding Erzhong, dated 1900
5cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 4, no. 556

    玻璃內畫水鴨山水鼻煙壺
    丁二仲,1900年作

    An inside-painted glass 'ducks and landscape' snuff bottle

    ('The First to Know')

    Glass, ink, and watercolours; with a flat lip and flat foot; painted on one main side with a landscape scene with a group of trees in the foreground and a man in a boat on a lake flanked by a rocky shore, the other main side with two ducks swimming near a reedy bank beneath the overhanging branches of a willow tree, inscribed in draft script 'Executed by Erzhong in an autumn month in the year gengzi at the request of the honourable Yinnan,' with one seal of the artist, Erzhong, in negative seal script
    Bottle: 1800–1900
    Painting: Ding Erzhong, probably Nanjing, autumn, 1900
    Height: 5 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.7/1.6 cm
    Stopper: carnelian; stained walrus-ivory collar

    Condition: Bottle: inner and outer lip both bevelled, suggesting the removal of small chips; the remains of three miniscule chips still visible in outer lip; lip worn from use. Painting: some slight snuff staining with spoon marks, most of which are in the adhered snuff, not in the painting, which is in very close to studio condition

    Provenance:
    Arthur W. Sharfeld
    Sotheby's, London, 24 November 1964, lot 131
    Sydney L. Moss Ltd. (1964)
    Hugh Moss
    Sotheby's, New York, 3 November 1982, lot 275
    Eric Young
    Sotheby's, London, 3 March 1987, lot 147

    Published:
    Kleiner 1987, no. 262
    Arts of Asia, July-August 1987, p. 119
    Treasury 4, no. 556

    Exhibited:
    Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987
    Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993
    Christie's, London, 1999

    Commentary
    Ding's career as a snuff-bottle painter, if our records are any indication of the overall output, peaked in the three years 1897, 1898, and 1899. There are four bottles recorded from 1893, the first year from which we have surviving bottles; two from 1894; three from 1895; seven from 1896; ten from 1897; 12 from 1898 (although in one case only one side was painted in that year, the other, strangely, bearing the date 1903); eight from 1899; three from each of the years 1900 and 1901; seven from 1902; three from 1903; six from 1904; two from each of the years 1905 and 1906; none from 1907, and one from 1908. There is then a gap until 1914, when one bottle is recorded, and another longer gap until 1927, when there is one more. This excludes twenty-one undated bottles and one that has an obviously wrong date on it (Treasury 4, no. 562). From this it is obvious that Ding concentrated his efforts on snuff bottles between 1893 and 1906, with his greatest production in the three years from 1897 to 1899, although there is another busy period between 1902 and 1904. While he was at his peak artistically from 1895 through to 1902, it is interesting to note that his two recorded works from 1906 are not as impressive as his earlier works. The painting lacks the commitment so obvious at the height of his career, although the calligraphy remains excellent. He seems to have been losing interest in the art by 1906, although he managed to regain a good deal of his composure in his one bottle of 1908, and the one dated to 1927, in the Pat Miller Collection, is also very good. As an artist, he was obviously losing interest in the art of painting inside snuff bottles after 1905, shifting towards calligraphy, fan-frame carving and, particularly, seal carving.

    The landscape side of this unusual little bottle might also suggest a lapse in commitment if it were not for the lovely painting on the other side. This is certainly not his most impressive landscape, particularly after the magnificent examples we have seen so far from this collection, nor does it have the abstract power of Sale 1, lot 62, and we believe this may provide the clue to this apparently anomalous work from 1900. The style is taken from the orthodox school and might be mistaken for a small album painting without the bottle containing it. It is even reminiscent of the sort of landscapes Gan Xuanwen painted, and it is just possible that Ding saw one of his works and decided to paint such a scene, although he would not have had to look far to find dozens of similar images as album paintings. One of the clues lies in the red tree in the foreground, with its foliage delineated by a series of circles in ink filled with colour. This is one of the standard, orthodox methods of depicting a tree, but one not used anywhere else in Ding's output. We believe that Ding Erzhong moved with his family to Nanjing at some time in 1900, and this unusual little landscape may reflect the taste of new clients, unconnected to the prevailing taste at Beijing. The use of this strangely shaped glass bottle would also suggest that he had already moved and was trying out new supplies of blank glass bottles, whether old or new. From 1900 onwards, very few of his bottles are the standard Beijing blanks.

    To offset the simple landscape painting, the other main side is painted with a
    rare and charming subject for Ding: ducks in a spring river beneath a willow. It is a delightful subject and, although simple, well up to Ding's high standards. He painted this rare subject once again in 1901 but without the willow and with an enormous red sun rising through the clouds at the water's horizon (Hugh Moss Records). The subject is reminiscent of a poem written by the eminent Northern Song poet, Su Shi (1037–1101), entitled 'On an Evening View of a Spring River by Hui Chong.' The second line in this poem, 'The ducks are the first to sense the warmth of the water in a river in springtime', has inspired many pictorial compositions since the poem was written. In terms of snuff bottles, different interpretations of the theme appear most frequently on overlay glass bottles, but others are known in inside-painted bottles, including Sale 2, lot 18, by Zhou Leyuan, where there is more discussion of the multiple meanings of Su Shi's couplet.

    玻璃內畫水鴨山水鼻煙壺

    玻璃、墨、水彩顏料;平唇、平底,題"庚子秋月應蔭南仁兄屬,二仲作"
    壺:1800–1900
    內畫:丁二仲,或作於南京, 1900年秋作
    高:5 厘米
    口經/唇經:0.7/1.6 厘米
    蓋: 紅白玉髓; 著色海象牙座

    狀態敘述: 壺:唇內外沿皆形成斜面,或許是因為小缺口的削除,唇外沿尚可見微小缺口的痕跡;唇經過歲月的摩擦呈所磨耗。內畫:有一點點鼻煙污漬及匙痕,匙痕多在殘余的鼻煙,不在內畫,內畫近乎出齋狀況

    來源:
    Arthur W. Sharfeld
    Sotheby's, London, 24 November 1964, 拍賣品號 131
    Sydney L. Moss Ltd. (1964)
    Hugh Moss
    Sotheby's, New York, 3 November 1982, 拍賣品號 275
    Eric Young
    Sotheby's, London, 3 March 1987, 拍賣品號 147

    文獻:
    Kleiner 1987, 編號 262
    Arts of Asia, July-August 1987, p. 119
    Treasury 4, 編號 556

    展覽:
    Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987
    Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993
    Christie's, London, 1999

    說明
    本壺的山水圖跟第一場拍賣會,拍賣品號 62 比較遜色。它有點像畫冊的山水圖,也讓人聯想甘烜文風格的山水圖。前景的楓樹以小圈子畫葉,是典型的畫葉法,但在丁二仲其他的內畫煙壺都不見。我們想丁二仲是1990年中搬到南京的,也許這個畫法反應著新的顧客的嗜好。這件壺坯也是跟北京的規範型式不同,好像是他到了南京之後就開始試用新供應源所提供的壺坯 。

    背面的游鴨圖卻是合乎丁二仲的水準的。翌年,他又畫了游鴨圖,沒有楊柳,倒有巨大的紅陽東昇(莫士撝未付梓知見錄)。"春暖鴨先知"歷來是畫家的重要題材,可參見第二場拍賣會,拍賣品號 18, 周樂元的作品。

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