A class of literati scholars first emerged in ancient Chinese society as early as Confucius’ (551-479 BC) era, becoming extremely sophisticated during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Wen Zhengming (1585-1645) published the treaties Zhangwu zhi (‘On superfluous things’) in 1621, describing the ideal environment of the scholar’s studio with its utensils and possessions. In this spirit, the literati scholars felt compelled to proudly live their lives according to an established set of rules in styles and taste, collecting works of art that were not only utilitarian, such as boxes, brush pots, washers, but revealed a level of sophistication and a fondness of antiquity.
LOT 21 | SPINACH-GREEN JADE 'SCHOLARS' BRUSH POT | QING DYNASTY, 19TH CENTURY | 清 碧玉雕文人山居圖筆筒
the cylindrical body supported on five cloud-shaped feet, intricately carved around the sides with a continuous mountainous landscape, the rocks and trees framing various vignettes, including scholars having tea around a kang table in a courtyard and an attendant bringing out a teapot; scholars walking leisurely in the meandering mountain path leading to a pavilion; a seated scholar reading on a rock accompanied by his attendant, whilst two other scholars seated on mat in conversation, the stone of dark spinach-green tone with some black inclusions
(Qty: 1) 15.5cm high | Provenance: Private French collection | £4,000 - £6,000 + fees
View Lot 21 ⇒
Apart from scholar’s objects, images of scholar’s life also vividly preserved in various medium/ material culture. A spinach-green jade brush pot (lot 21) carved minutely with some scholars having tea around a kang table, some walking leisurely in the meandering mountain path, and one seated scholar reading on a rock. A blue and white basin depicted 'Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove' (lot 40), a group of seven Chinese scholars of the 3rd century, playing musical instruments. An ivory carving of a napping scholar (lot 18) and a famille rose circular plate depicting a scholar napping in a garden (lot 56) both of which change our impression of the rigidity of scholar’s life.
LOT 40 | BLUE AND WHITE 'SEVEN SAGES OF THE BAMBOO GROVE' BASIN | KANGXI PERIOD | 清康熙 青花竹林七賢紋卷缸
potted in bulbous body and lipped rim, the body decorated with the famous 'Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove' playing musical instruments, the scene set amongst a mountainous landscape with clouds
(Qty: 1) 20.5cm diameter | £1,200 - £1,500 + fees
View Lot 40 ⇒
During the tough time of the pandemic, with lockdown in place all over the world, working from home has become the new normal. With people around the globe adapting their lives and homes to best continue as normally as possible. Used in scholar’s studios, these ancient ‘working from home’ tools will hopefully continue to bring the same pleasure to new collectors as the ancient scholars before them.
Here we take a look at a few highlights from our forthcoming auction of Fine Asian & Islamic Works of Art...
HUANGHUALI 'MAGNOLIA' BRUSH POT | QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
LOT 15 | Y HUANGHUALI 'MAGNOLIA' BRUSH POT | QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY | 清 黃花梨雕玉蘭紋筆筒
finely carved in high relief with magnolia blooms issuing from gnarling branches surrounding the petalled cylindrical body, mouth rim further with floral details
(Qty: 1) 15.6cm wide | Provenance: private Swedish collection | £4,000 - £6,000 + fees
View Lot 15 ⇒
BAMBOO-VENEER 'PEONY' BOX AND COVER | QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
LOT 16 | BAMBOO-VENEER 'PEONY' BOX AND COVER | QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY | 清 竹黃嵌壽山石雕海棠如意形蓋盒
of ruyi form, supported on a short straight foot, the flat top finely carved with a cartouche enclosing a meandering sprig of soapstone-inlaid peonies surrounded by a key-fret border, the straight sides carved with square and hexagonal pattern incised with starburst, the patinated bamboo of a warm honey-brown colour
(Qty: 1) 8.8cm wide | Provenance: formerly in a private English collection, acquired from Sotheby's London, 18 May 2018, lot 312 | £4,000 - £6,000 + fees
View Lot 16 ⇒
ROCK CRYSTAL SQUARE WATER POT | QIANLONG PERIOD
LOT 25 | ROCK CRYSTAL SQUARE WATER POT | QIANLONG PERIOD | 清乾隆 水晶雕方形水丞
of square form, carved with canted edges, the gradually curved sides terminating to a lipped mouth rim, each side carved in low relief with knotted ribbons
(Qty: 1) 5.8cm wide | Provenance: property of a gentleman; formerly in a private German collection, acquired from an antique shop in Munich between 1965 and 1980 | £1,000 - £1,500 + fees
View Lot 25 ⇒
PALE CELADON JADE 'FINGER CITRON' WATER POT | QIANLONG PERIOD
LOT 26 | PALE CELADON JADE 'FINGER CITRON' WATER POT | QIANLONG PERIOD | 清乾隆 青白玉雕佛手形水丞
elegantly rendered as a finger citron, also known as 'Buddha's hand' for its shape, borne on a short twig with the finger-like sections gently curling upwards, the top of the fruit with a circular opening and body hollowed as a vessel, the stone of even translucent pale green colour, on a fitted wooden stand carved in openwork with various small finer citrons on leafy branches
(Qty: 1) 9cm wide | Provenance: property of a gentleman; formerly in the collection of an European diplomat Sven Hedin (1865-1952) who acquired it from Hong Kong in 1930s | £4,000 - £6,000 + fees
Finger citrons are not edible unless preserved with salt or sugar, but were known to have been used by Empress Cixi to fragrance rooms in the Palace. Their auspicious symbolism derives from the play on the Chinese word for finger citron, foshou, homophonous with the words for blessings, fu, and longevity, shou. Hence, they were a popular subject in jade carvings of the Qing dynasty. A comparable jade water holder in the shape of a Buddha's hand citron formerly in the Qing Court collection is now in the collection of the National Palace Museum, Taiwan, collection number Gu Yu 故玉 3166; another Qing dynasty finger citron-form jade box and cover was in the C.T. Loo & Co., New York collection and sold at Christie's Live Auction 2553 on 23 Mar 2012, lot 1943.
View Lot 26 ⇒
CELADON JADE BRUSH REST OF A CAMEL | MING DYNASTY
LOT 28 | CELADON JADE BRUSH REST OF A CAMEL | MING DYNASTY | 明 青玉帶皮雕駱駝筆山
naturalistically carved in recumbent position with legs neatly tucked beneath its body, turning its head backwards, the two humps detailed with incisions, the stone of a celadon-white colour with russet inclusions
(Qty: 1) 8cm wide | Provenance: property of a gentleman; formerly in the collection of one of the most renowned Italian antique dealers, Pietro Accorsi (1891-1982) | £3,000 - £5,000 + fees
View Lot 28 ⇒
GE-TYPE CRACKLE-GLAZED VASE | MING DYNASTY
LOT 38 | GE-TYPE CRACKLE-GLAZED VASE | MING DYNASTY | 明 仿哥釉洗口瓶
sturdily potted on a short ring foot, the ovoid body rising to a waisted neck and inward curving wide mouth, applied overall save for the foot with a creamy white glaze with a network of black and faint russet crackles, with a tomabaku box
(Qty: 1) 24cm high | Provenance: Private Taiwanese collection, formally in a private Japanese collection | £1,500 - £2,500 + fees
View Lot 38 ⇒
The form of this vase mainly existed during the Ming dynasty and especially popular in the Wangli period, two Ge-type crackle-glazed vases of the same shape and dated to Ming dynasty are respectively in the Zhangzhou Museum and Xiamen Museum.
GROUP OF TWO SCHOLAR'S OBJECTS | QING DYNASTY
LOT 48 | GROUP OF TWO SCHOLAR'S OBJECTS | QING DYNASTY | 清 '任煥章'款 粉彩鼎式爐 及 '俞子明'款 淺絳彩香插 文房用具（兩件）
comprising: one famille rose incense burner of archaic ding form with lid, the burner supported on four taotie-masked legs, each side with different decorations, one side painted with a vase and finger citron and inscribed with 'Ren Huan Zhang' mark, the lid with a lion knob and 'Zi Sun Yong Bao' inscriptions; together with one qianjiang enamelled incense stick holder with a hexagonal dish, the dish finely painted a bird perching on tree branches above chrysanthemums and inscribed with 'Yu Zi Ming' mark
(Qty: 2) censer: 8.8cm high; incense stick holder: 8.8cm wide | £600 - £800 + fees
View Lot 48 ⇒
WUCAI 'SCHOLAR AT LEISURE' ROULEAU VASE | LATE MING TO EARLY QING DYNASTY, 17TH-18TH CENTURY
LOT 57 | WUCAI 'SCHOLAR AT LEISURE' ROULEAU VASE | LATE MING TO EARLY QING DYNASTY, 17TH-18TH CENTURY | 明末清初 五彩文人賞戲圖棒槌瓶
finely painted on the cylindrical body with a night scene, including a scholar holding a folded fan and his wife having titbits and wine before a large shanshui screen, they are appreciating a play performed by two joyous bearded figures, one seated playing musical instruments, another holding a spear with crescent-blade in action, the vase with waisted ribbed neck decorated with shanshui landscape
(Qty: 1) 48.5cm high | Provenance: private Swedish collection | £1,500 - £2,500 + fees
View Lot 57 ⇒
FINE ASIAN & ISLAMIC WORKS OF ART
Friday 14th May 2021 10:00
London | Live Online
View auction catalogue ⇒
Viewing by appointment is available from 7 to 13 May at 22 Connaught St, London.
Book your viewing appointment ⇒
Asian Art Department
Lyon & Turnbull’s international Asian Art department conduct frequent specialist auctions, in the various locations throughout the UK and via live online auctions. These auctions have a special focus on Chinese and Japanese ceramics, paintings, furniture, jade, textiles and works of art and are perfectly positioned to capitalise on the current strength in the Asian antiques markets.
Learn more ⇒