Bitong, Brush Pot
|Artifact Identification||Bitong, Brush Pot (2007.12.0006A)|
|Classification||Communication T&E : Written Communication T&E : Writing Accessories|
|Artist/Maker||Mo Shan Zhi, an art name used by Chou Nai-shih. Native of Chia-ting, Kiangsu.|
|Geographic Location||Asia, East, China|
|Period/Date||Reign of Shunzhi (1644-1661) or Kang Hsi (1662–1722), Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), 17th century|
|Dimension 1 (Height)||16.2 cm|
|Dimension 2 (Diameter)||12.5 cm|
|Dimension 3 (N/A)||N/A|
|Manufacturing Processes||Carved, Incising, Staining|
|Munsell Color Information||N/A|
"A Chinese bamboo bitong (brushpot), 6 1/2” high by 5” wide, carved with the design known as “Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove”, signed Mo Shan Zhi. Mo Shan is one of the art names used by Chou Nai-shih. In addition to Mo Shan, other art names include: Wan-chou, and Yu-wen. Mo Shan was a native of Chia-ting, Kiangsu. He was active during the reigns of the Shunzhi (Shun-chih) (1644-1661) and Kangxi (K’ang His) (1662-1722). This important bitong dates from the 17th century, created by an artist skilled in painting, calligraphy as well as bamboo carving (in the manner of the Chou family). Artist signed bamboo bitong with the motif known as Sages of the Bamboo Grove (Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove, or Chu-lin ch’i-hsien, or Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove, or Zhulinqixian) (Chinese literary group) are rare.
Comparables: Sotheby’s Hong Kong 10/23/05, sale 0225, lot 5, signed Gu Jue, Chinese bitong 6 3/4 in. Superbly carved in varying relief with a continuous scene of a lady and her attendant holding a fan, standing outside a mountain retreat, bidding farewell to a scholar on horseback followed by an acolyte who carries a qin and a picnic box on a pole over his shoulder, while two figures standing beside a carriage converse with one another behind the retreat, all set amidst towering peaks, trees and mist, the rock face signed Gu Jue followed by the seal Zongyu, the base with a long inscription, with wood mounts to both the slightly flared rim and tripod base, Kangxi period. Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 10/23/2005, sale HK0225, lot 8. A Finely Carved Seven Sages Chinese Bamboo brushpot, 18th century, 6 in., of cylindrical form supported on three small feet, the exterior skillfully carved in deep relief with the ‘Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove’ in leisurely pursuit, attended by five acolytes within a dense bamboo grove along a rocky riverbank, one scholar approaches a bridge with his attendant and the others drink wine, play the qin and converse, while four acolytes carry a picnic box and various supplies towards the seated group, the rock face with a six-column inscription followed by the seal Yuan. Christie’s, Hong Kong, sale 2207, 11/28/2005, lot #1458; Qing Dynasty, 17th/18th century; Exceptionally finely carved bitong, exquisitely carved in low relief from a segment of bamboo of rich honey-brown tones, with composite scenes of figures in landscape, one side depicting a gathering of sages in a bamboo grove beside a flowing stream amidst rocks and trees, with billowing clouds above, the other side of the cylindrical brush pot with a scene from the painting, ‘Literary Gathering at the Orchid Pavilion’, featuring scholars seated in a pavilion, in animated discussion on a riverbank shaded by pine and wutong trees, and assembled in a bamboo grove 6 1/8 in. (15.6 cm.) high, original stand, unsigned, Japanese wood box. Christie’s, Hong Kong, 5/30/06, lot 1226, sale 2309. A Finely Carved ‘Seven Sages’ Chinese Brushpot. The exterior finely carved in high relief and openwork to render a continuous scene depicting the ‘Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove’, each Sage preoccupied in his own leisurely pursuit to include walking, playing the qin, drinking and reclined under the shade in a recess of a bamboo grove, attended by acolytes variously tasked at brewing tea, preparing food and washing beside a running stream, inscribed with two characters Gu Jue on the rock face, Kangxi period. 6 1/2 in, (16.5 cm.) high. Christie’s, New York, 3/22/07, sale 1814, lot #438; A Finely Carved Chinese Bamboo Brushpot, Bitong, 17th/18th century, deeply carved and undercut with a scene from the Lanting Xu (Orchid Pavilion Preface), depicting numerous scholars and attendants in a wooded mountain setting, with one group gathered around a table set with painting or writing material, another group seated discussing books in a bamboo grove, a third group in a pavilion raised on pilings above swirling waters, of a river that bisects the scene, with ducks in the water and scholars and attendants on the river banks, with smaller groupings of scholars and attendants, and one attendant standing off to one side beside a table laden with scholars’ objects, with huanghuali mounts, 6 1/2” H., unsigned, box. This same unusual combination of scenes can be seen on another finely carved bamboo brushpot sold in Woodbury House Hong Kong rooms, 28 November, 2005, lot 1458. Compare, also, the fine carving of the present brush pot to that seen on a brushpot carved with a scene from Ouyang Xiu’s Ode to the Pavilion of the Inebriated Old Man, bearing the signature Gu Jue (active late 17th century), illustrated by D. P. Leidy et al., in ‘Chinese Decorative Arts’, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Summer, 1997, p. 50. Christie’s, London, May 15, 2007, sale 7415, lot 76: A Finely Carved Chinese Bamboo Brushpot, 17th/18th Century. Deeply carved and undercut with a scene from the Lanting Xu (Orchid Pavilion Preface), depicting numerous scholars and attendants in a wooded mountain setting, with one group gathered around a table set with painting or writing materials within a pavilion, another group seated discussing books, a third group within a bamboo grove and a fourth smaller group playing a game, all bisected by a flowing river with ducks in the water and scholars and attendants on the river banks, with further smaller groupings of scholars and attendants in various spots 5 7/8 in. high, unsigned.
Cameron, Nigel. The Chinese Scholar's Desk. Hong Kong: FormAsia Books, 2003.
|Credit Line/Dedication||Fred A. Freund Collection|