Mid Qing dynasty, inscribed mark of Shi Dabin Finely potted of archaistic hu form, applied at the shoulder with two well modelled ruyi handles and decorated with a key-fret collar above a rope-twist border, the main body incised on one side with an eleven-character inscription, the stoneware of a rich reddish-brown colour with scattered paler specks. 6cm high.
Provenance 來源： Sir Percival Victor David, 2nd Baronet (1892-1964) 英國大衛德舊藏 Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, 1964
Illustrated 出版: Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, London, 1936-37, Vol. 14, pl. 35c.
'Made in the Ice Jade Hall during the jiachen year of the Wanli period (1604), by Shi Dabin'.
It is worth noting that the miniature vase was also witnessed and mentioned in a letter from Professor Fu Zhenlun when he was sent by the government to represent China in the International Exhibition of Chinese Art at the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 1935. The letter was written to Mr Mian Zhi and Mr He Panfa along with a list showing pieces of Yixing stoneware that were exhibited in the exhibition. He noted at the end of the list that a Yixing pot that belonged to the Sir David Percival, where identical inscriptions and signature of Shi Dabin were incised was seen in the storeroom without being exhibited in the exhibition venue. (He Panfa, 'memoir of the Xiangshan conference', in Jiangxi Taoyi, Ceramic Art of Jiangxi, vol.1, part 2, 2007.)
The collection formed by Sir Percival David in the earliest 20th century is undoubtedly the greatest collection of Chinese porcelain ever formed outside of the Imperial Court. Many of the rarest masterpieces, which range from Southern Song dynasty ruyao, through to Chenghua doucai and Yongzheng falangcai, are equal or superior to those now preserved in the principle depositaries of the former Qing court collection in Beijing and Taipei. A substantial part of his collection, possibly including lots 223 and 224, was purchased by Sir Percival David in 1927 from the Yuin Yeh Bank, where they had been taken from the Imperial collection and deposited as collateral for a substantial loan granted to the Dowager Empress Cixi on her departure from the Forbidden City in 1901
The date of Shi Dabin's birth and death appears to be unrecorded in historical records. However, according to Li Jingkang and Zhanghong (Li Jingkang, Zhang Hong , 1937:7), his family can be traced back to the Song dynasty, during which his grandfather was Shi Yan, a high court office. His superb craftsmanship was taught by his father, Shi Peng. As a master potter, Shi Dabin is known to have taken special care in the preparation of his clay material. Sometimes he would pound old shards into a fine powder, then sieve and mix it with quarts, to give the clay an archaic yet elegant and even texture. His early works are in the style Gong Chun, for whom he had the highest admiration. However, after travelling to Loudong in South China and being introduced to the literary circle led by Chen Meigong, whose members were all tea connoisseurs, he learned their preferences of using small teapots and shifted his style in order to follow the trend. In addition to his excellent craftsmanship in teapot making, the elegant style of his incised signature was often used to distinguish other copies of inferior quality.
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