An inside-painted crystal 'crane and prunus' snuff bottle Zhou Leyuan, The Studio of Lotus-root Fragrance, Xuannan, Beijing, circa 1892 (the bottle: 1750–1880)
Lot 41
An inside-painted crystal 'crane and prunus' snuff bottle Zhou Leyuan, The Studio of Lotus-root Fragrance, Xuannan, Beijing, circa 1892 (the bottle: 1750–1880)
Sold for HK$ 87,500 (US$ 11,288) inc. premium

Lot Details
An inside-painted crystal 'crane and prunus' snuff bottle Zhou Leyuan, The Studio of Lotus-root Fragrance, Xuannan, Beijing, circa 1892 (the bottle: 1750–1880) An inside-painted crystal 'crane and prunus' snuff bottle Zhou Leyuan, The Studio of Lotus-root Fragrance, Xuannan, Beijing, circa 1892 (the bottle: 1750–1880) An inside-painted crystal 'crane and prunus' snuff bottle Zhou Leyuan, The Studio of Lotus-root Fragrance, Xuannan, Beijing, circa 1892 (the bottle: 1750–1880) An inside-painted crystal 'crane and prunus' snuff bottle Zhou Leyuan, The Studio of Lotus-root Fragrance, Xuannan, Beijing, circa 1892 (the bottle: 1750–1880) An inside-painted crystal 'crane and prunus' snuff bottle Zhou Leyuan, The Studio of Lotus-root Fragrance, Xuannan, Beijing, circa 1892 (the bottle: 1750–1880)
An inside-painted crystal 'crane and prunus' snuff bottle
Zhou Leyuan, The Studio of Lotus-root Fragrance, Xuannan, Beijing, circa 1892 (the bottle: 1750–1880)
5.91cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 4, no. 504

    水晶內畫鶴梅圖鼻煙壺
    壺﹕1750~1880
    內畫﹕周樂元,藕香書軒,宣南房舍,北京,約 1892年作

    An inside-painted 'crane and prunus' snuff bottle

    Crystal, ink, and watercolours; with a flat lip and recessed flat foot surrounded by a protruding rounded footrim; painted with a continuous scene of a moonlit bamboo grove with a crane on a rocky outcrop beside a blossoming prunus, with lingzhi growing nearby, inscribed on the side with the crane in draft script with a poem, followed by one seal of the artist in negative seal script, Zhou shi ('Mr. Zhou'), and, on the side with the moon, 'Executed by Zhou Leyuan in the capital', followed by a second seal of the artist, Leyuan, also in negative seal script
    Bottle: 1750–1880
    Painting: Zhou Leyuan, The Studio of Lotus-root Fragrance, Xuannan, Beijing, circa 1892
    Height: 5.91 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.50/1.65 and 1.55 cm (oval)
    Stopper: tourmaline; vinyl collar

    Condition: Minor scratching to the lip in the crystal and a chip to the outer footrim, otherwise, good condition

    Provenance:
    Ralph Baldwin (photographed by Moss in the mid-1960s)
    Trojan Collection (1993)
    Robert Hall (1993)

    Published:
    Hall 1992, no. 87
    Kleiner 1995, no. 385
    Treasury 4, no. 504

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

    This is the poem that appeared on Sale 1, lot 47, also by Zhou:

    Beyond the luxuriant bamboo grove, one branch slants.
    The gleaming moonlight is sifted in the sky to paint its pure-white blossoms.
    Don't say that the one living alone and remote lacked companions,
    Even in cold weather a crane stayed with the prunus blossoms.

    The last two lines of this poem refer to the well-known recluse and poet, Lin Bu (967–1028), who found companionship in the prunus grove he tended and the crane he kept; the former he regarded as his wife and the latter, his son (see Tsang 1994, pp. 10–11).

    Zhou painted bamboo infrequently, but whenever he did his renditions are masterly. Bamboo was a standard subject through which the adept calligrapher could show off his brushwork, since to paint bamboo requires most of the basic strokes involved in the mastery of calligraphy. It is perhaps strange that, painting them as well as he obviously did, he was not tempted to do so more often, with bamboo as the main theme, or at least a powerful part of the composition as they are here and on Sale 1, lot 47. Of the two, this is the more impressive example from this standpoint, since there is much more bamboo involved in the continuous subject, giving it greater prominence in the composition. His masterpiece of the subject of bamboo, where the bamboo is a principal element, is the Bob Stevens example painted in 1888 (Stevens 1976, no. 869); otherwise, this is undoubtedly his finest depiction of the subject, with its supremely elegant and understated young bamboo painted with exquisitely controlled brushwork.

    The seal used here which reads, Mr. Zhou (Zhou shi), is, as far as we can see, not used elsewhere on his works, although it is typical of the style of seal used in most of his later works, of small size and painted in neat, negative seal script.

    水晶鶴梅內畫鼻煙壺

    水晶、墨、水彩;平唇, 平斂底突出圈足,圈足底為一圓棱;內畫通體月下竹篁老幹梅花舞鶴圖,畫月亮一面有"周樂元作於京師"六字,後落白文"樂元"篆印,舞鶴一面內書一首絕句,以白文"周氏"一章結尾壺﹕1750–1880
    畫﹕周樂元,藕香書軒,宣南房舍,北京,約 1892年作
    高﹕ 5.91 厘米
    口徑/唇徑: 0.50/1.65 and 1.55 厘米 (橢圓形)
    蓋﹕ 碧璽; 乙烯基座

    狀態敘述: 在唇位置水晶內有磨痕,足圈外沿有一小缺口,此外,良好。

    來源:
    Ralph Baldwin (1960年代中葉,莫士撝攝影)
    特落伊珍藏 (1993)
    羅伯特.霍爾 (1993)

    文獻﹕
    Hall 1992, 編號 87
    Kleiner 1995, 編號 385
    Treasury 4, 編號 504

    展覽﹕
    大英博物館,1995年6月~11月
    Israel Museum, 耶路撒冷,1997年7月~月11月
    倫敦佳士得,1999年

    本壺題句就是 第一場拍賣會, 拍賣品號 47, 的那首﹕"森森竹外一枝斜,皓月節空寫素華,莫道夜深無伴侶,天寒有鶴守梅花"。後兩句暗指林逋 (967–1028;參閱Tsang 1994, 頁 10–11)。本壺畫的竹真是太絕妙了,奇怪的是,他這麼熟習的主題畫得少。在本壺和 第一場拍賣會, 拍賣品號 47上,竹子是構圖重要的元素,特別是這件。竹篁題的傑作應該首推 1888年畫的Stevens 1976, 編號 869。那件以外,本壺應算是第二件。

    據所知,只有這件鼻煙壺用"周氏"印,不過,它的風格跟他其他後期用的印章是一致的,規模小,白文篆體很精緻。
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