An inscribed three-colour glass overlay 'water buffaloes' snuff bottle Possibly made for Yu Changsui, Yangzhou, 1861–1883
Lot 122
An inscribed three-colour glass overlay 'water buffaloes' snuff bottle Possibly made for Yu Changsui, Yangzhou, 1861–1883
Sold for HK$ 288,000 (US$ 37,088) inc. premium

Lot Details
An inscribed three-colour glass overlay 'water buffaloes' snuff bottle
Possibly made for Yu Changsui, Yangzhou, 1861–1883
5.8cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 5, no. 1012

    褐套醬色水牛過河圖鼻煙壺
    或為于昌遂所珍藏,1861~1883

    An inscribed three-colour glass overlay 'water buffaloes' snuff bottle

    ('Idle Days')

    Opaque cinnabar-red, transparent emerald-green and translucent caramel- beige glass; with a flat lip and recessed, convex foot surrounded by a protruding, rounded footrim; carved as a double overlay with a continuous lake scene with floating lotus leaves with, on one main side, two figures in boats beneath the moon, with a grassy, rocky foreshore, inscribed in an oval cartouche in relief draft script, Jinyu ting ('Pavilion of Today's Rain'), and on the other with two herdboys riding their water buffaloes beneath two flying bats and the sun
    Probably Yangzhou, 1861-1883
    Height: 5.8 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.59/1.31 cm
    Stopper: glass; glass finial; glass collar

    Condition: small chip in lower left edge of relief seal; chip to crescent moon, leaving only half of the red relief intact.General relative condition: good

    Provenance:
    Robert Hall (1987)

    Published:
    Hall 1987, no. 43
    Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 134
    Treasury 5, no. 1012

    Exhibited:
    Robert Hall Ltd., London, October 1987
    Hong Kong Museum of Art, March-June 1994
    National Museum, Singapore, November 1994-February 1995

    Commentary
    Our dating of this bottle is based on our belief that it was made in Yangzhou and belonged to Yu Changsui, an official who retired to Yangzhou in 1861 and died in 1883. He is introduced in Moss and Sargent 2011, although the Jinyu ting is not mentioned there. Treasury 5, no. 1011, is inscribed with 'Jinyu ting' on one side and 'Yu shi zhencang' (Yu Collection) on the other, supporting our attribution of the bottle to Yu Changsui.Through an allusion to a poem by Du Fu, 'Today's Rain' refers to new friends, and it figures in the title of several anthologies of poems by friends in a given locality—including a collection put together by a bibliophile named Gu Yuan (1799 – 1851), whose library (more likely, parts of it) may have come into the possession of Yu Changsui after it was scattered in the turmoil of the Taiping Rebellion. Yu Changsui was himself an avid book collector. We speculate that Gu Yuan's Jinyu Anthology could have inspired Yu to name some building in his estate after it, hence the 'Today's Rain pavilion' on these snuff bottles. This scenario is supported by the fact that his brother, Yu Changjin, was also a book collector and is known to have apparently adopted the name of an earlier bibliophile's library for his library. (Of course, Yu Changjin could also be the patron of the Jinyu ting snuff bottles, or perhaps they were co-patrons; after all, some books carry seals belonging to both brothers.)

    The caramel-coloured ground with cinnabar-red and green overlay forms one of the more common combinations for the group (see nos. 1013 and 1014 in Treasury 5).

    The moon in the overlay has suffered a small chip, and although this could easily be repaired by carving away the rest of the moon, the Blochs decided against it, thus demonstrating an admirably enlightened approach to damage on masterpieces. Since the moon was an integral part of the original concept, and since great bottles are able to carry such scars with considerable dignity, it was decided to leave it.

    褐套醬色水牛過河圖鼻煙壺

    不透明漆紅、透明鮮綠色及透亮姜黃玻璃;平唇,凸斂底,突出圓棱圈足;陽刻"今雨亭"
    大概作於揚州, 1861-1883
    高:5.8 厘米
    口經/唇經:0.59/1.31 厘米
    蓋: 玻璃;玻璃 頂飾; 玻璃座

    狀態敘述: 款框下左呈小缺口,娥眉月破掉了紅套的一半。總體品相: 良好

    來源:
    Robert Hall (1987)

    文獻:
    Hall 1987, 編號 43
    Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, 編號 134
    Treasury 5, 編號 1012

    展覽:
    Robert Hall Ltd., London, October 1987
    Hong Kong Museum of Art, March-June 1994
    National Museum, Singapore, November 1994- February 1995

    說明:
    我們認為本壺是給于昌遂 (字漢卿,1829–1883) 作的。《清實錄》咸豐八年正月上 提到"直隸州知州于昌遂",《清實錄》同治元年三月上則云"候補直隸州知州于昌遂。意氣虛憍",同十二年十二月下亦云"候補直隸州知州于昌遂、居心巧詐。辦事荒唐。"且不說于漢卿官場中的成敗,他是同治初就退居揚州的,在揚州蜀崗西峯附近築了個養志園。Moss and Sargent 2011提供了關於于昌遂的資料和于氏藏書的活動,但沒有提到今雨亭。 Treasury 5, 編號 1011, 一面題"今雨亭",一面題"于氏珍藏"可知今雨亭和于家有關係。我們猜測,今雨亭這個名稱是跟于漢卿的藏書活動有關係的:藏書家顧沅 (1799–1851) 著有《今雨集》,我們猜測,于昌遂是獲得顧沅太平天國時期中分散的書,為了標志書的來源,他園子裏蓋叫今雨亭的亭子。同樣,昌進的哥哥,于昌進,在善本書上鈐的印,"文登于氏小謨觴館藏本"大概是表示繼承彭兆蓀 (1769–1821) 小謨觴堂的意思的。當然,著《今雨集》的人不只有顧沅;再者,"漢卿"款跟"今雨亭"款的套玻璃鼻煙壺不一定都屬於昌遂,可能是後者屬於昌進的。但無論如何,這批煙壺的時空位置有所解惑了。

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