An inside-painted crystal 'Lanting Preface' snuff bottle Ding Erzhong, Xuannan, Beijing, 1898–1900
Lot 150
An inside-painted crystal 'Lanting Preface' snuff bottle Ding Erzhong, Xuannan, Beijing, 1898–1900
Sold for HK$ 560,000 (US$ 72,217) inc. premium
Lot Details
An inside-painted crystal 'Lanting Preface' snuff bottle
Ding Erzhong, Xuannan, Beijing, 1898–1900
Sold with accompanying watercolour by Peter Suart
6.6cm high.


  • Treasury 4, no. 562


    An inside-painted 'Lanting Preface' snuff bottle

    Crystal, ink, and watercolours; with a flat lip and recessed flat foot surrounded by a protruding flat footrim; painted on one main side with an illustration of the Orchid Pavilion gathering, inscribed with the title, in clerical script, 'A Painting of the Purification Festival', followed in draft script by 'Painted by Erzhong after a Song version', with one seal of the artist, Ding, in negative regular script, the other main side inscribed in draft script with the entire text of Wang Xizhi's preface, preceded by 'The 'Lanting Preface' by Wang Xizhi of the Jin', and followed by 'Copied by Erzhong at the capital in winter, in the tenth month of the year jiashen', with one seal of the artist, Erzhong, in negative seal script
    Ding Erzhong, Xuannan, Beijing, 1898–1900 (incorrectly dated)
    Height: 6.6 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.5/1.92 and 1.73 cm (oval)
    Stopper: coral; stained walrus ivory

    Condition: Bottle: minor natural flaws in the crystal running though the neck though to the shoulder of the bottle. Painting: studio condition

    Watercolour by Peter Suart

    Unrecorded source (China 1930)
    Ko family (1987)

    Kleiner 1987, no. 251
    JICSBS, Spring 1988, front cover
    Arts of Asia, September–October 1990, p. 98
    Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 305
    Kleiner 1995, no. 396
    Kleiner 1995 (illustrated folder), Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July 1997
    Treasury 4, no. 562

    Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987
    Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993
    Hong Kong Museum of Art, March–June 1994
    National Museum, Singapore, November 1994–February 1995
    British Museum, London, June–November 1995
    Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997
    Christie's, London, 1999

    For Lin Yutang's translation of the 'Lanting Preface' and further information, see Sale 1, lot 28.

    This is one of two masterpieces painted by Ding Erzhong of this inspiring subject. The other example is in the Ann Kreuger Collection and is dated the winter of 1898 (see Stevens 1976, no. 882, for the side with the picture).

    A year with the cyclical designation jiashen year would correspond to either 1884 or 1944. Neither is possible. We are sure he could not have painted this bottle in 1884, at the age of 19. By 1944 he was dead, but even if this might call into question the date of his death, we have the records of the Ko Collection to prove that it was bought many years prior to that, probably in Jinan or Beijing between 1927 and 1929. If jiashen is an error for bingshen, the date becomes 1896, still a bit early stylistically speaking, but possible. But we cannot explain why such an error would be made, so we have simply dated the bottle to 1898 – 1900, Ding's last three years in Beijing, where it seems to fit best in our chronology of the development of his style.

    In signing his works, Ding used Ding Erzhong (fig. 1 — three versions); Erzhong (fig. 2 — three versions); Ding Shangyu (fig. 3); Shang (just the middle character of fig. 3), Erzhong, yu (fig. 4), and Erzhong di Ding Shangyu (fig. 5). His seals were excellent, legible and reasonably numerous, as befits a master seal carver. They include Ding in various forms (fig. 6 — four versions); Erzhong (fig. 7 — three versions); Erzhong yin ('seal of Erzhong' — fig. 8); yin ('seal' — fig. 9), although he rarely used this on its own as did many other artists, and Taigu ('Extreme antiquity' — fig. 10). For his two studio names see nos. 547 and 551.


    水晶、墨、水彩;平唇, 平斂底突出圈足,圈足底全面接觸地面;一面內畫蘭亭曲水圖,題曰"修禊圖,仿宋人本,二仲寫",以白文"丁"篆印結尾,反面內書《蘭亭序》全文并題,其後書"甲申冬十月二仲臨於京門","丁"下畫白文"二仲"篆印
    丁二仲, 宣南,北京,1898–1900 (甲子有誤)
    高﹕ 6.6 厘米
    口徑/唇徑: 0.5/1.92 and 1.73 厘米 (橢圓形)
    蓋﹕ 珊瑚; 染色海象牙

    狀態敘述: 壺:壺頸有水晶天然瑕疵,一直伸延至肩位。內畫:出齋狀況

    帶有彼德小話 (Peter Suart) 水彩畫

    未錄來源 (中國,1930年)
    克家 (1987)

    Kleiner 1987, 編號 251
    《國際中國鼻煙壺協會的學術期刊》, 1988年春期 封面圖片
    Arts of Asia, September–October 1990, p. 98
    Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, 編號 305
    Kleiner 1995, 編號 396
    Kleiner 1995 (illustrated folder), Israel Museum, 耶路撒冷, July 1997
    Treasury 4, 編號 562

    Sydney L. Moss Ltd.,倫敦,1987年10月
    Creditanstalt, 維也納, 1993年5月~6月
    National Museum of Singapore,1994年11月~1995年2月
    大英博物館, 1995年6月~11月
    Israel Museum, 耶路撒冷,1997年7月~月11月

    丁二仲有兩個《蘭亭》傑作,另一件為 Ann Kreuger 珍藏,帶1898年冬的年款(參閱Stevens 1976, 編號 882,該壺畫圖的一面)。


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