An inscribed moulded pale turquoiseglazed porcelain 'bamboo' snuff bottle Danran jushi, probably Hu Wenxiang, Jingdezhen, 1820–1870
Lot 2
An inscribed moulded pale turquoise-glazed porcelain 'bamboo' snuff bottle Danran jushi, probably Hu Wenxiang, Jingdezhen, 1820–1870
Sold for HK$ 384,000 (US$ 49,505) inc. premium

Lot Details
An inscribed moulded pale turquoise-glazed porcelain 'bamboo' snuff bottle Danran jushi, probably Hu Wenxiang, Jingdezhen, 1820–1870 An inscribed moulded pale turquoise-glazed porcelain 'bamboo' snuff bottle Danran jushi, probably Hu Wenxiang, Jingdezhen, 1820–1870
An inscribed moulded pale turquoise-glazed porcelain 'bamboo' snuff bottle
Danran jushi, probably Hu Wenxiang, Jingdezhen, 1820–1870
7.19cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 6, no. 1367

    瓷胎模製竹石圖鼻煙壺
    澹然居士,大概為胡文祥,景德鎮,1820~1870

    An inscribed moulded pale turquoise-glazed porcelain 'bamboo' bottle

    ('A Necessary Gentleman')

    Pale turquoise-blue and colourless glazes on porcelain; with a flat lip and recessed, flat foot surrounded by a protruding, flat footrim; carved on one main side with bamboo growing in front of a convoluted rock, with one raised seal of the artist, in seal script, Ranyin ('Seal of Ran'), and on the other with a raised inscription in seal script, He ke yiri wu cijun ('How can [one live] a single day without this gentleman?'), followed by the signature Danran jushi ('The retired scholar Danran') with one raised seal of the artist in seal script, yin ('seal'), the foot inscribed in relief seal script, Danhu ('Dan's Bottle'); the exterior surfaces, except the lip and footrim, glazed turquoise-blue; the interior covered with a colourless glaze
    Danran jushi, probably Hu Wenxiang, Jingdezhen, 1820–1870
    Height: 7.19 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.7/1.15 cm
    Stopper: mother-of-pearl; coral collar

    Condition:tiny chip to the character yi in the inscription, in its centre;fairly large chip off the end of one stroke on the character ran in the signature and another to the shi character;chip to part of the character chunin the inscription;two original firing flaws, one beside the last two characters of the signature, the other at the lower neck

    Provenance:
    Michael Hughes, New York, 2001
    Hugh Moss (HK) Ltd. 2002

    Published:
    Treasury 6, no. 1367

    Commentary
    This masterly, literate bottle comes close in feeling to Sale 1, lot 130, raising an intriguing possibility. Perhaps Hu Wenxiang worked under other names, matching his literati styleand elegant quality with the use of a variety of assumed, artistic names that would betypical of a literatus – Danran jushi being one example. No one else is known to haveadopted the name Danran jushi, so Hu Wenxiang is a valid candidate. The identificationis bolstered by the similarities between this bottle and Sale 1, lot 130. Both feature the rareuse of the token seal, yin, which simply means 'seal'; this is a common touch in the laterQing, particularly in the Zhou Leyuan school of inside painters at Beijing, but it is notcommonly found on bottles of the first half of the nineteenth century. Other than thesetwo, no known carved-porcelain bottles bear this seal. Both bottles areinscribed with esoteric and difficult seal script, not just for the signature, but forrelatively long inscriptions, where the script is unusually impressive, particularly giventhe medium. Finally, both are decorated with bamboo and, crucially, the style is bothdistinctive and remarkably similar on both bottles.

    There is another bottle signed Danran jushi in JICSBS, Spring 2009, p. 31, fig. 9; it is from the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.
    We cannot automatically presume that Danran jushi and Hu Wenxiang are the same person. An alternative explanation for the use of the name is that the carver was responding to a commission from a scholar with this sobriquet. Nowhere in the seals or inscriptions on this bottle is there any verb indicating that Danran made the bottle or wrote the inscriptions. It is possible that Danran was the patron, a literatus and lover of bamboo, who chose the subject and inscriptions and commissioned Hu to make the bottle for him. Perhaps he was also the calligrapher who provided the exemplar for the potter to follow in writing the inscription, which is a well-known remark made by Wang Huizhi (d. 388 CE). Wang was very fond of bamboo. Once, when he stayed for a short while in an empty house, he immediately sent for servants to plant bamboo in the garden, saying, "How can one live a single day without [the company of] this gentleman?" From then on, the bamboo acquired 'cijun' ('this gentleman') as one of its alternative names.

    The bamboo is a symbol of a cultivated gentleman because of various good moral qualities it portrays. As examples, its slender and straight stems impart a sense of uprightness; the hollow stems represent a humble person's receptive mind; and its ability to bend instead of being broken in inclement weather is akin to the fortitude of a scholar in adversity. The word jie, which designates the nodes of the bamboo stems, has among its various other meanings 'integrity' and 'will'.

    瓷胎模製竹石圖鼻煙壺

    瓷胎上無色釉與淡綠松石藍釉;平唇,平斂底,突出圈足,圈足底完全接觸地面; 一正面陽刻"然印"一篆印,另一正面陽刻 "何可一日無此君",後加"澹然居士"和陽刻 "印" 印,底陽刻"澹壺",除了唇與圈足以外,壺表施綠松石藍釉,內壁施無色釉
    澹然居士,大概為胡文祥,景德鎮,1820–1870
    高:7.19 厘米
    口經/唇經:0.7/1.15 厘米
    蓋: 珍珠之母; 珊瑚座

    狀態敘述: "一"字中點呈細小的缺口;"然"字第一畫下端和"士"字中央部都有相當大的缺口;"君"字呈缺口;有煆燒導致的兩個瑕疵,一在"居士"旁邊,一在頸部下部

    來源:
    Michael Hughes, New York, 2001
    Hugh Moss (HK) Ltd. 2002

    文獻:
    Treasury 6, 編號 1367

    說明:
    這件工藝傑出的鼻煙壺個方面都很像 第一場拍賣會, 拍賣品號 130,使人不得不聯想澹然是胡文祥的另一字號。像徵性的"印"字印,在十九世紀前半葉的煙壺寥寥無幾,除了這兩件以外,已知的雕刻瓷胎煙壺都沒有一件打這種印的。兩壺題文的字體也比較難寫難辨。

    不過,也可能是叫澹然居士的人讓胡文祥給他作這兩件煙壺的,就是說,胡文祥和這位居士不是一個人, 是陶匠和顧客兩個人。再進一步說,也許字的原型是澹然居士寫的,但那也不過是猜測。
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