Peng Yuanrui (1731-1803) Qianlong Imperial Gengji Poems
Lot 708
Peng Yuanrui (1731-1803) Qianlong Imperial Gengji Poems
Sold for HK$ 524,000 (US$ 67,574) inc. premium
Lot Details
Peng Yuanrui (1731-1803)
Qianlong Imperial Gengji Poems
Ink on paper, album of 19 double leaves
Signed chen Peng Yuanrui, with two seals of the artist
Carefully composed and written on finely textured papers, the compilation of sixty-four poems displayed in nineteen double pages, framed within front and back zitan covers
The cover incised Yuzhi Gengishi within floral borders
17.5cm x 55cm (6¾in x 21½in) each. (19).

Footnotes

  • Provenance: an important Asian private collection

    The Genjishi was compiled on the occasion of the Qianlong Emperor's seventy-ninth birthday before he became Emperor Emeritus. The content contains a fifty-four year record of the Emperor's twenty-eight experiences in presiding over the agricultural ceremonies at the Xiannongtan. Divided into sixty-four poems, they were also recorded in the Anthology of Imperial Poems (fig.1 and fig.2).

    Peng Yuanrui (1731-1803), alias Yun Mei, from Nanchang, Jiangxi province, lived during the Yongzheng period. He became an Imperial scholar during the twenty-second year of Qianlong period (1757), and was admitted to and trained at the Hanlin Academy. He served at the Imperial libraries of Maoqindian and Nanshufang, before finally being appointed as the assistant minister in charge of various official duties involving labour and military matters. His notable compositions include Shengjiaoxu, Sanda Lifu and Bageng Quan Yunshi, all which gained much fame and were appreciated by the Emperor. The Emperor praised him with scholarly gifts of leopard mink fur, inkstone and ink, in addition to dedicating poems to him.

    It is recorded in scroll number three hundred and twenty-six of the Qingshigao or Draft History of Qing, which translates as:

    "Yuanrui's abilities as a scholar were acknowledged. His influence is vast and has penetrated all forms of cultural and official life in the Imperial palace. Truly remarkable and worth praising". Peng Yuanrui's scholarly abilities were unique and were developed during his twelve years of training at the Hanlin Academy, where he published records including Midian Zhulin, Shiqubao Ji, Xiqing Gujian and Tianlu Linlang Shumu. During the thirty-fifth year rule and the sixtieth birthday of the Qianlong Emperor, Yuanrui also published and gifted Wanfu Jicheng Shizhang to the Emperor; he later also published the religious scriptures Jibao Jing which was heavily favoured by the Qianlong Emperor. Peng Yuanrui lived a diligent life of unfaltering passion for learning by keeping a personal journal Zhisheng Daoqi Dushu Ba. This important collection consists of fifty different sections separated into two volumes: the first volume refers to classics and history books; the second volume consists of literary anthologies. The content of his works is usually short but precise and deeply meaningful. On the fifty-sixth year of Qianlong period (1791), Peng Yuanrui was ordered by Imperial decree to preside over the carving of the thirteen classics on a stone stele. This stele is known as Qianlong Shijing and became an implement of study for many future generations. Under Yuanrui's supervision and carved by master calligrapher Jiang Heng, the stele still stands today in its complete form.

    Every wise ruler from every period comprehended that agriculture is the backbone of a prosperous nation, hence it is by Imperial regulations that the procession of gengji tianli, an agricultural ceremony held annually during springtime. This was highly regarded by the Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong Emperors. The procession includes educating the commoners on the religious importance of divine intervention and paying respects to the Heavens in return for rainfall and good harvest. Even under Manchu rule they still honoured and continued this major tradition. All three Emperors also issued Imperial decrees instructing the construction of agricultural bureaus at the Yuanmingyuan, Fengzeyuan and Yiheyuan, including weaving and dying workshops, temples for blessing silkworm cultivation, stone steles with scenes of agriculture as well as the Emperor's personal participation in the actual farming process. To explain the significance of agriculture during this period, see an Imperial Kangxi-style painting of the Yongzheng Emperor engaging in agricultural activities in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in, Paintings by the Court Artists of the Qing Court. The Complete Collection of the Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1996, p.76, no.3 (fig.3).

    The Kangxi and Yongzheng Emperor never failed to personally attend to the annual procession unless they were in ill health, hence the Qianlong Emperor also highly regarded this tradition and continued to carry out his official duties yearly. Every year during spring time, the Qianlong Emperor would proceed through the Zhengyangmen to Xiannongtan to oversee the ritual. Xiannongtan is a ceremonial altar where the mentioned processions are held during the Ming and Qing dynasties, where such platforms were in service since the eighteenth year of Yongle period (1420) until the twenty-seventh year of the Qianlong period (1755). Such altars were constructed in increasing numbers and over the years involved the usage of various kinds of altar wares. The creation of the altar had to adhere to strict regulations and was complete with a private platform where the Emperor observed his ministers performing the entire procession. Such is the embodiment of belief and thousands of years of tradition left behind by ancestors of old, which has reflected the unity of strength and spirit of the Chinese society.

    The mentioned structure is today in ruins with what remains of the foundation left. In the twenty-sixth year of Guangxu period (1900), the American's ninth and fourteenth battalion set up their military operations and headquarters at Xiannongtan. It was at this period that many of the ceremonial objects were removed from their original settings. The current lot is fortunate to have retained its current condition through this period of history. Another comparable example titled Shaonong Jidian, or 'Ceremonial Documentary of Agricultural Development' was included in Shiqu Baoji, see Midian Zhulin Shiqu Baoji Hebian, Shanghai, vol.11, pp.3026-3035. Compare also another identical looking album with different content dating to the Qianlong period, exhibited in the Macao Museum of Art and currently in the Palace Museum, Beijing, see The Life of Emperor Qianlong , Macao, 2002, no.18 (fig.4).

    清乾隆 彭元瑞 御製耕耤詩 水墨紙本 雙面冊頁十九開

    款識:(正文不錄,包括64首御製耕耤詩及禾詞。)臣彭元瑞敬書。
    鈐印:臣、瑞
    封面:刻「御製耕耤詩」五字

    來源:重要亞洲私人收藏

    此冊書上、下夾板均以木板為之,板面陰刻「御製耕耤詩」,刻工細緻,書冊木板包漿古拙、自然,體現出此詩書古雅中蘊含華貴,俱皇家氣派。書內冊使用皇家御用紙,紙質地潔白勻淨,細膩而有棉性,四周邊飾花葉連紋,共計十九雙面冊頁。書冊內容《御製耕耤詩》是乾隆帝在79歲高齡時,親自整理其54年以來共親祀先農壇行耕耤典禮28次所作,御製耕耤詩和禾詞64首的總合,達4000餘字,由乾隆重臣彭元瑞代筆彙集成冊,這64首御題詩均收錄在《清高宗御題詩集》(圖1、圖2)。

    彭元瑞,雍正九年至嘉慶八年,(1731-1803),字雲楣,江西南昌人。乾隆二十二年(1757年)進士,選翰林院庶吉士,散館授編修。值懋勤殿、南書房,遷侍郎,歷工、戶、兵、吏諸部。擢尚書,歷禮、兵、吏部,加太子少保、協辦大學士。工書,一生以文學為高宗知遇,高宗六十壽,進《聖教序》為贊。敕撰寧壽宮,皇極殿燈聯。辟雍成,上《三大禮賦》。五十五年(1790年),高宗八十壽,因歲陽在庚,進《八庚全韻詩》等,皆稱旨。高宗讚其為「異想逸材」,賜貂裘、硯、墨、詩。

    據《清史稿》卷三二六中記載:「元瑞以文學被知遇。內廷著錄藏書及書畫、彝鼎,輯秘殿珠林、石渠寶笈、西清古鑒、宁壽鑒古、天祿琳琅諸書,元瑞無役不與。和章獻頌、屢荷褒嘉。」彭元瑞文才稱奇,掌管翰林院12年,先后編成《秘殿珠林》、《石渠寶籍》、《西清古鑒》、《天祿琳琅書目》等,乾隆三十五年(1770年)乾隆帝六十壽慶,彭元瑞寫成《萬福积成十章》進獻,后又進《积寶經》跋、輯聖教序,受到乾隆帝的嘉獎。彭元瑞一生勤於學,其《知聖道齊讀書跋》實為有功學林之書,並可見其細心讀書的精神,博涉多通的學識,該書是彭元瑞的讀書隨記,上卷所論是經史書籍,下卷是子集書籍,各有五十余種,大都是重要書籍。此書涉及各書的內容和傳本情況,寥寥數語,卻能切中要意。乾隆五十六年(1791年)彭元瑞受敕與和紳、王杰等主持十三經刻石。經他們精心校理,著名書法家蔣衡書,定名為《乾隆石經》,成為目前我國僅存的一部最完整的十三經刻石。國子監學生以此為教材,可見彭元瑞在當時如何受朝廷重用及學識之淵博。

    中國自古以農立國,每一朝代之統治者都明白農業對國計民生的重要性,在每年春天擇期親自或遣官行「耕耤田禮」,在明、清兩朝皇帝均甚重此事,尤其在康熙、雍正、乾隆三位清朝帝君,莫不將此舉看為除治國之外的最重要事務。先農是傳說中教導人民耕種的神祇,耤禮即是祭祀農神,以祈求風調雨順、五榖豐收的儀式。清皇朝滿族人進中原後,也同時遵循明朝古俗,每年由皇帝舉行「耕耤之禮」以達到「重農、勸耕」的美意。康、雍、乾三位皇帝並曾在圓明園、豐澤園、清漪園(頤和園前身,蓋於1730年)等處設置與農業相關景點,例如:織染局、蠶神廟、耕織圖石牌與帝王親耕的「籍田」等機構。可惜這些景點現今已不見,今只能從留下雍正帝令官廷畫家仿康熙朝繪製〈耕織圖〉,並將畫中農夫改成自己的面貌,也可看出當時的清帝如何重視農耕等事。此畫現藏於北京故宮博物館,見聶崇正編,《故宮博物院藏文物珍品全集:清代宮廷繪畫》,頁76,第3開(圖3)。

    尤其作為清皇朝最鼎盛、國勢最強大的乾隆皇帝更是對此「耕耤」重典不敢輕忽,除沿襲康、雍舊行禮儀外,幾乎是每次都親自主持耕耤儀式,在每年春季舉行例行國家祀典耕種慶典後,皇帝便從正陽門到先農壇祭禮頌文。「先農壇」是明、清兩代統治者親自耕祭先農(炎帝神農氏)的祭壇,從明永樂十八年(1420年)始至清乾隆二十年(1755年),明、清兩代皇帝不斷增加先農壇的建築數目及禮器、文物等,並嚴格執行先農的耕祭禮儀規章。先農壇建築功能完整,有先農神的拜台,有皇帝觀看大臣行耕的觀耕台等,可說先農壇不僅蘊含著中國人千百年來神農祭祀文化的精髓,且成為中國神農祭祀文化集大成的體現,處處發揚著中華民族天人合一重要的傳統美德。

    可惜今先農壇只剩當初之建築羣,因光緒二十六年(1900年),美軍第九營及十四營據守先農壇,以前廳(拜殿)為指揮所,後廳(太歲殿)被作為醫院使用,當撤軍時,先農壇所存的陳設、瓷器、禮器及祭祀詩書及各種庫存物品也隨之流散。如此重要彭元瑞書寫乾隆皇帝畢生參與先農壇耕耤典禮所作御題詩64首之《御製耕耤詩》,歷經百年從先農壇散出之後,有幸保存至今且完好無損實之不易。因先農壇從當時大量文物失蹤至今,此拍品為與先農壇有深層直接淵源之唯一關連重要之物。另外《石渠寶笈三編》也曾著錄一本《劭農紀典》,詳見上海書店編,《秘殿珠林石渠寶笈合編》,第11冊頁3026-3035,所示之形式、詩內容等完全與本冊《御製耕耤詩》一致,也可供參考比較。除此之外,另有一件與本拍品無論包裝、紙質、邊飾幾乎完全一樣,只是詩內容不同的乾隆詩冊,現藏於北京故宮博物院,曾於澳門藝術博物館展出,見陳浩星主編,《懷抱古今:乾隆皇帝文化生活藝術》,澳門,2002年,編號18(圖4)。

    Captions 附圖說明

    fig.1: Anthology of Imperial Qianlong Poems, vol.4, juan 4
    圖1:《清高宗御題詩集》第四冊第四卷

    fig.2: Anthology of Imperial Qianlong Poems, vol.3, juan 4
    圖2:《清高宗御題詩集》第三冊第四卷

    fig.3: Yongzheng Imperial 'Gengzhi Tu', the Palace Museum, Beijing
    圖3:雍正御製〈耕織圖〉,北京故宮博物院藏

    fig.4: Qianlong Imperial Poems Album, the Palace Museum, Beijing
    圖4:乾隆御製詩冊,北京故宮博物院藏
Activities
Contacts
  1. Meilin Wang
    Specialist - Chinese Paintings
    Bonhams
    Work
    Suite 2001, One Pacific Place
    Hong Kong
    Work +852 2918 4321
    FaxFax: +852 2918 4320
  2. Laure Raibaut
    Specialist - Chinese Paintings
    Bonhams
    Work
    Suite 2001, One Pacific Place
    Hong Kong
    Work +852 3607 0003
    FaxFax: +852 2918 4320
  3. Vincent Wu
    Specialist - Chinese Paintings
    Bonhams
    Work
    Suite 2001, One Pacific Place
    Hong Kong
    Work + 852 3607 0016