A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746

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Lot 86
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow
The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746

Sold for US$ 882,312 inc. premium
PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF ROSALIND CHING PASTOR
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow
The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
The Cizhou-type pillow molded in two halves along its length, the join visible as a simple molded line that runs entirely around the pillow, the pottery washed with a cream slip and then covered in a lightly crackled glaze that thins and frits at the edges of the square ends and at a few points on the longer edges, one end with four kiln spur marks, one face very carefully and neatly engraved through the fragile glaze in clerical script with a one-hundred-character poem composed by the Qianlong Emperor and split into twelve eight-character lines and one four-character line followed by the inscription Qianlong Bingyin Yuzhi followed by two seals Qian and Long, some glaze staining.
8 5/16in (21.2cm) across

Footnotes

  • 宋 白瓷錠形枕
    1746年 乾隆御製詩詞

    PROVENANCE
    Yamanaka & Company, Inc, Parke-Bernet Galleries, 1943, lot 715
    The Rosalind Ching Pastor Collection, Chicago

    LITERATURE
    Parke-Bernet Galleries, 'Yamanaka & Company, Inc.' Catalogue, 1943, illustrated on 3rd shelf (center) of six shelves

    Stephen Little, Masterworks of Chinese Art, The Rosalind Ching Pastor Collection, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 2005, pp. 12-13, full page illustration

    EXHIBITED
    Art Institute of Chicago, Loan exhibition, 1997
    Honolulu Academy of Arts, 2005

    來源
    Yamanaka & Company, Inc., Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc, 1943年, 拍品編號715
    The Rosalind Ching Pastor Collection, 芝加哥

    出版
    Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc, 'Yamanaka & Company, Inc.,' Catalogue, 1943年, 圖錄拍品編號715

    Stephen Little, Masterworks of Chinese Art, The Rosalind Ching Pastor Collection, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 2005年, 頁12-13

    展覽
    Art Institute of Chicago,芝加哥,1997年
    Honolulu Academy of Arts,夏威夷檀香山,2005年

    The sale of the entire stock from the three US. stores of Yamanaka & Company (New York, Boston and Chicago), was offered under the supervision of the Alien Property Custodian of the United States of America, during the Second World War. The item, illustrated as lot 715, was catalogued as a 'porcellanous pillow of Yu-yao ware bearing on one side an ode composed by the Emperor Ch'ien-lung. Length-8", Sung Dynasty'(See Figs.1-3).

    See also a letter (Fig.4) from the (then) Curator of Chinese Paintings at the National Palace Musum, Taipei, Na Chih-Liang to Rosalind Ching Pastor in 1974, with regard to the calligraphic poem on her pillow. This at least gives us a terminus ante quem for the pillow entering the Pastor collection.

    In our poem, the Qianlong Emperor praises the beauty and fineness of the pillow, describing its whiteness ,shiny surface, and its jade-like strength and firmness and expressing his great admiration for the artistic sophistication that the Song artists achieved. More interestingly, perhaps, the emperor even imagined having conversations with ancient sages while sleeping on the pillow. The poem is followed by the Imperial designation and date.

    The poem on our pillow reads:
    枕石不如流,漱流不如石,瓷枕堅且潔,堪贈如茲客,既質玉之質,復白雪之白,磨涅不磷緇,
    拂拭多光澤,恍挹神仙人,精神盍內積,豈伴窈窕女,粉黛汙顏色,可薦床之東,亦宜牖以北,
    張氏榴應羞,錢家石豈特,虛堂夏午間,松濤泛幽席,竭此夢羲皇,古風如可即。
    乾隆丙寅御題 「乾」、「隆」。

    It is recorded in the Siku Quanshu, vol 31 (See Fig. 5).

    For another incised Ding-type pillow of oval shape in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, inscribed and gilt to the underside with the same Imperial Poem by the Qianlong Emperor dated to 1746 but written in a regular script rather than clerical script, see Peijin Yu, De jia qu: Qianlong huang di de tao ci pin wei - Obtaining Refined Enjoyment : The Qianlong Emperor's Taste in Ceramics , Taipei: National Palace Museum, 2012, p. 66-67, no. 9 (See Figs. 6-7). The same publication, pp. 162-163, no. 63, also illustrates a brown-glazed porcelain zither dated to the 18th century, which imitates the earlier lacquer versions from the Imperial collection, and which also bears a poem written by the Qianlong Emperor in 1746. This clearly demonstrates that poetic inscriptions inscribed on many items in the collection began early in the Qianlong reign despite the plethora of examples that date from the 1760's onwards.

    Moreover, in an article published in Orientations, November-December 2011, pp.80-88, entitled 'Consummate Images: Emperor Qianlong's Vision of the 'Ideal' Kiln' by Yu Peichin, Curator at the Department of Antiquities, National Palace Museum, Taipei, the author notes that writing poems was a passion for the Qianlong Emperor. He was the most prolific of all the emperors in Chinese history, with over 40,000 imperial poems ascribed to him. Of these 190 are in praise of ceramics. He notes that Qianlong believed that ancient utensils could be used in everyday life and that he used early ceramics to commune with the ancient sages. Yu Peichin then references the poem 'The white ceramic pillow', 1746, (collected in Qinggaozong yuzhishiwenquanji [The Complete Collection of Imperial Poems by Emperor Ch'ien-lung], Taipei, 1976, ji 1, juan 31). This is the same poem written on our plain white ingot pillow and also on the underside of the florally decorated pillow in the National Palace Museum, Taipei (Figs. 6-7). He continues, that in the poem, the Qianlong emperor writes that by lying on the pillow, he can attempt to meet with the ancient leader Fuxi in his dreams, be close to his grace, and learn his style. As this poem reveals, not only did Qianlong view the ceramic pillow from the Northern Song dynasty as 'solid and clean' but that he may also have used it in his daily life. Yu Peichin then considers that in ordering the poem to be carved, he was actually imbuing the artifact with new meaning including the profound sense of communing with the ancient sages.

    According to the author (citing records in the Palace Workshop Employment Archives of the Imperial Household Department (Neiwufu Zaobanchu gezuochengzuo huojiqingdang) there had to be direct instructions from the emperor before an order to carve each artifact was passed to the painting academy at Ruyiguan ('The Palace of Fulfilled Wishes') or Maoqindian ('The Hall of Great Diligence').

    An ingot-shaped pillow (then called Yu-yao ware) of the Southern Song Dynasty is illustrated in Can jia Lundun Zhongguo yi shu guo jia zhan lan hui chu pin tu shou (Illustrated Catalogue of Chinese Government, Exhibits for the International Exhibition of Chinese Art in London, Vol. II. Porcelain), Shanghai, 1936, p.90, no. 101. It bears an Imperial Qianlong poem with the date 1765 (See Figs 8-9). The same pillow is also illustrated in the British publication Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Chinese Art, 1935-36, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1935, p. 125, no. 1284 (Lent by the Chinese Government). Interestingly, this pillow is now published as Qingbai ware, or 'blue-glazed' ware from Jingdezhen, rather than Yueyao from Zhejiang, see Peijin Yu, op. cit., pp. 64-65, fig. 8. Yet another ingot-shaped pillow, a pale-blue-glazed Jun ware example dated 1764, illustrated in the same National Palace Musem publication, pp. 142-143, no. 52, shows detailed images of the finely engraved clerical script, which highlights the dexterity of tool-work neccessary to engrave such a fragile porcellanous surface without causing damge, and bears very close comparison with the calligraphy on ours, in texture and quality.

    The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery have a near identical Cizhou-type white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow with a poem by the Qianlong Emperor, also of one-hundred-characters split into the same twelve vertical lines but cyclically dated to 1768. It is illustrated on the Smithsonian website, asia.si.edu/object/F1942.21. It is also illustrated by Chuimei Ho and Bennet Bronson, Splendors of China's Forbidden City, The Glorious Reign of Emperor Qianlong, The Field Museum, Chicago, 2004, p. 233, no. 293. Chapter VI entitled 'The Emperor as a Private Person' has various academic entries including one by Jan Stuart; 'Qianlong as a Collector of Ceramics'. Here she discusses the emperor's habit of adding his inscriptions and seals to not only paintings but also to jades, lacquers and ceramics. Using their pillow as an example she notes that the inscriptions give us an insight into his complexities as an art critic. In their poem, which is shorter but similar in content to ours, she states that the emperor starts with an art historical judgement, naming the pillow Ding ware. This is an understandable misidentification of this pristine white antique pillow. He then references two classical allusions to dreaming on pillows. At the heart of his text however is another allusion that takes the plainness of the ceramic as its greatest virtue and connects simplicity with human integrity.

    Another Song dynasty ingot-shaped pillow (9 1/2 inches across) with a carved design (boys) under a greenish-white glaze is illustrated in Gugong Bowuyuan Cang Wenwu Zhenpin Quanji (Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum) Porcelain of the Song Dynasty (II), Hong Kong, 1996, p. 191, no. 173; whilst the earlier volume (I), ibid., p. 201, no. 182., illustrates an oval Cizhou pillow with carved peony decoration and a Qianlong Imperial poem with yuzhi mark and cyclical date of 1768.

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A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
A Rare Imperially-Inscribed white-glazed ingot-shaped pillow The pillow Song Dynasty (960-1279), the inscribed poem dated 1746
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