A gilt-bronze 'tianlu' paper weight Late Ming dynasty
Lot 535
A gilt-bronze 'tianlu' paper weight Late Ming dynasty
Sold for HK$ 162,500 (US$ 20,952) inc. premium

Lot Details
A gilt-bronze 'tianlu' paper weight Late Ming dynasty
Property from an important private collection (lots 531-538)
A gilt-bronze 'tianlu' paper weight
Late Ming dynasty
Cast in the form of a coiled mythical beast poised in recumbent position, the creature with the head of a dragon and body of a deer, its outstretched neck turned right and looking upwards, revealing ferocious expression and sharp teeth framed by a pair of ears and horns, the back of the head with silky mane running down its spine ending in a furry tail, the body flanked by hoofed feet and engulfed in flames.
6.7cm high.

Footnotes

  • Provenance 來源:
    A German private collection, Hamburg, 1987

    The Tianlu, also known as a qilin, is a legendary mythical beast considered a symbol of prosperity with the power to ward off evil. There is an old saying which translates as, "tianlu knows all good and evil in the mortal realm, like a spirit and travelling in ghastly speed between the lands, if one meets its acquaintance, one will be blessed with wealth, longevity, healthiness and prosperity".

    Paperweights are used to hold down paper at the four edges, so as not to interfere with reading, calligraphy and painting. Weights first appeared during the Warring States period and became widely used in the Han dynasty. They are often found in the form of animals, and were originally for weighing down the four corners of floor-seating mattresses, before gradually becoming paperweights after the Han dynasty.

    It is recorded on the thirty-seventh page, thirty-eighth scroll of Xiqing Gujian compiled by Imperial decree, by Liang Sizheng in the fourteenth year of Qianlong period (1750), which mentions a paperweight in the form of a tianlu which is very similar to the current lot. It is recorded in this Scroll that the mentioned paperweight existed since the Revolt of the Seven Kingdoms, and that another such paperweight was also recorded in Kaogu Tu by Lu Dalin, illustrated in Liang Sizheng, Xiqing Gujian. Yangzhou, p.815 (fig.1). See also another comparable examples in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, illustrated by Rose Kerr, Later Chinese Bronzes, London, p.101, no.87; and another sold at Sotheby's London, 9 June 1987, lot 16.

    明末 銅鎏金天祿紙鎮

    鎮紙精銅鍊製,通體鎏金,光澤燦爛,手感厚實,品相極佳,天祿伏身張口露牙,回頭昂首狀造形優美,且充滿古趣,生動的反映了典雅的神獸形象,是一件工藝高超、文人氣息濃厚的高級文房精品,讓人愛不釋手。由於天祿造型別緻,其重量可當鎮紙,而其流線形之背部可作筆山使用,一物二用,這在文房器物中相當罕見,可見設計者之巧思。

    天祿為傳說中一種吉祥避邪神獸,古書記:「天祿能曉人間善悪,通靈且能神遊于眾山間,得遇之,乃福壽康寧徵兆」。「鎮」最早出現載於戰國,盛行於漢朝,最初使用在壓席之四角,多為動物造形且以銅作成為多,漢朝以後,隨著傢俱、椅座的出現,人們不再以席為座,「鎮」漸被轉為壓紙之用,乃有「鎮紙」一詞。

    清朝乾隆十四年,梁思正奉敕編撰《西清古鑒》,當中卷38,頁37,便記載一件漢天祿書鎮,其造型與本拍品十分相近,書中說明,在七國已有此器,呂大臨《考古圖》中也有書鎮一令,見梁思正撰,《西清古鑒》,揚州,頁815(fig.1)。其他類似銅獸,可見倫敦維多利亞與亞伯特博物館,《近代中國銅器》,1990,頁101,圖版87,以及倫敦蘇富比,1987年6月9日,拍品編號16,後者之型態與本拍品如出一轍。
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