An inside-painted glass 'auspicious objects' snuff bottle Yan Yutian, dated 1895
Lot 74
An inside-painted glass 'auspicious objects' snuff bottle Yan Yutian, dated 1895
Sold for HK$ 50,400 (US$ 6,502) inc. premium

Lot Details
An inside-painted glass 'auspicious objects' snuff bottle Yan Yutian, dated 1895
An inside-painted glass 'auspicious objects' snuff bottle
Yan Yutian, dated 1895
6.47cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 4, no. 613

    玻璃內畫清供圖鼻煙壺
    閻玉田,1895年作

    An inside-painted glass 'auspicious objects' snuff bottle

    ('The Aristocrat and His Camel')

    Glass, ink, and watercolours; with a concave lip and recessed, convex foot surrounded by a protruding, rounded footrim; painted on one main side with a Manchu aristocrat in winter clothing leading a camel along a riverside in a snow-covered landscape, a plank bridge visible further along the river which is flanked by bare trees, the distance with snow-covered peaks, the other main side with a cat, sitting beside a jardiniere planted with chrysanthemums, looking up at a katydid on one of the chrysanthemum blooms; beside the cat are what appear to be three jujubes and beyond are seen a crackled ceramic vase with a flowering branch in it, a teapot and a tripod incense burner with smoke rising from it, inscribed in draft script 'Executed at the capital by Yan Yutian in the year yiwei for the judgment of Buqing, my second elder brother', with two seals of the artist, Yu and tian, both in negative seal script, one slightly overlapping the other
    Yan Yutian, Chongwen district, Beijing, 1895
    Height: 6.47 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.7/1.62 cm
    Stopper: tourmaline; glass collar

    Condition: Bottle: three practically invisible tiny indentations in the footrim, possibly chips but more likely part of the original process of manufacture; some minor wear to surface, barely visible. Painting: Minor snuff adhesion in places with the snuff scratched in one inner shoulder, tiny scratches to white jacket of man leading camel. Otherwise, in studio condition

    Provenance:
    Wing Hing, Hong Kong (1993)

    Published:
    Kleiner 1995, no. 431
    JICSBS, Winter 1995, p. 8
    Treasury 4, no. 613

    Exhibited:
    British Museum, London, June–November 1995
    Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997
    Christie's, London, 1999

    Commentary
    This is one of Yan Yutian's masterpieces and it is also, fortunately, in studio condition, allowing us to see Yan's palette and style without the veil of snuff-staining and wear that sometimes obscure his charms. Yan repeated his subjects frequently, although usually with variations in the composition, however slight, but this scene of a Manchu aristocrat leading a camel in a snow-laden landscape appears to be unique.

    We know that the man is an aristocrat by the finial on his fur hat and a Manchu by his clothing in general. The camel is one of the most delightful in the entire medium and the landscape setting certainly one of Yan's most impressive. Yan was a quirky landscape painter, but a very consistent one. He had his own vision of landscape, achieved mostly by re-arranging certain basic landscape forms in the manner of the literati tradition of painting, but this snow scene is outside his usual range. It is extremely well painted, with a lovely balance between the dark lines of the receding waterside trees and the washed ink tones delineating the distant, snow-covered hills.

    Yan knew his shortcomings as a calligrapher and usually kept his inscriptions down to a bare minimum of date, place of painting, and signature--often even omitting the date and sometimes even reducing his calligraphic input to just an abbreviated signature. Adding an occasional dedication went as far as he seems to have been comfortable calligraphically and the inscription here gives us a good indication of the reason for his reticence. Even on one of his finest paintings he was unable to rustle up more than pedestrian writing. It gets the message across, but lacks any elegance or vitality in doing so.

    玻璃內畫清供圖鼻煙坱

    玻璃、墨、水彩顏料;凹唇,凸斂底,突出圓棱圈足;一面內畫駱駝雪景圖,一面內畫清供圖,上題"乙未步青二兄正,京師閆玉田作", 後加白文"玉"、"田"二印,有所重疊
    閻玉田,北京崇文區,1895年
    高:6.47 厘米
    口經/唇經:0.7/1.62 厘米
    蓋: 碧璽; 玻璃座

    狀態敘述: 壺:圈嘴有三處幾乎看不見的凹痕,可能是缺口的痕跡,但大概是原來製壺坯時所造的,壺身表面呈微乎其微的磨耗,幾乎看不見。 內畫:內壁呈一點點的鼻煙,一邊的肩部裏的鼻煙呈刮痕,牽駱駝的人的白皮背心呈細微刮痕。此外,出齋狀態

    來源:
    Wing Hing, Hong Kong (1993)

    文獻:
    Kleiner 1995, 編號 431
    JICSBS, Winter 1995, p. 8
    Treasury 4, 編號 613

    展覽:
    British Museum, London, June–November 1995
    Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997
    Christie's, London, 1999

    說明
    本壺是閰玉田的傑作之一,幸而是出齋狀態,不像其他的閰玉田內畫煙壺,多有鼻煙的污漬或磨擦。閰壺常常是選同一個題材的,但本壺的駱駝踏雪似乎沒有第二個。


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