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明代筆記 vol.5 克拉克舊藏1497萬港元明宣德青花魚藻紋葵花式洗 - An ex-Alfred Clark superbly painted and extremely rare blue and white 'fish pond' brush washer, Mark and period of Xuande.




青花魚藻紋葵花式洗,發色明豔,紋飾線條流麗自由,繪游魚悠然自得,穿梭蓮草之間,予觀者自在無拘之感,為中國歷代御瓷少見罕例。


克拉克伉儷不僅收藏高古瓷器,其明清收藏也十分精彩。克拉克伉儷是為數不多能以頂級審美之眼擊穿時代枷鎖限制的藏家之一。



松隐幽归:绽放自然的克拉克伉俪珍藏 - the Alfred & Ivy Clark Collection
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8 April 2023•14:00 HKT

Hong Kong


Estimate

12,000,000 - 18,000,000 HKD


Lot Sold

14,970,000 HKD


亞洲私人收藏

明宣德 青花魚藻紋葵花式洗 《大明宣德年製》款


17.8 cm


Provenance


Peter Boode (d. c. 1972).

Collection of Alfred (1873-1950) and Ivy Clark (c. 1890-1976), c. 1936/38.

Spink & Son Ltd, London, 1974.

Collection of Senta Wollheim, compiled in the 1960s to early 1980s, and thence by descent.

An old German family collection.

Sotheby's Hong Kong, 7th October 2015, lot 3605 and cover.


Peter Boode(約1972年卒)

艾弗瑞(1873-1950年)與艾薇(約1890-1976年)克拉克伉儷收藏,約1936/38年

Spink & Son Ltd,倫敦,1974年

Senta Wollheim 收藏,集珍於60至80年代初,此後家族傳承

德國家族舊藏

香港蘇富比2015年10月7日,編號3605及封面

Literature


A.D. Brankston, Early Ming Wares of Chingtechen, Beijing, 1938, pl. 19.


白蘭士敦,《明初官窰考》,北京,1938年,圖版19




克拉克舊藏魚藻紋洗

康蕊君


青花魚藻紋葵花式洗,發色明豔,紋飾線條流麗自由,繪游魚悠然自得,穿梭蓮草之間,予觀者自在無拘之感,為中國歷代御瓷少見罕例。


宣德一朝景德鎮御窰廠任用專業畫師繪瓷,然官瓷紋飾受宮規所限,多為龍紋、鳳紋,或其他象徵皇權紋飾,格式拘謹莊重,卻少筆意趣味。少數新式瓷器紋飾,寓意喜慶且不受制式所限,作非正式場合之用。此類作品現畫師嫻熟筆法,揮灑畫功底蘊,造就出最靈動迷人的御瓷紋飾。魚藻紋較其他自然題材更需畫師敏銳寫生觀察,師法自然,以純熟技法再現水中魚草姿態。此件拍品魚藻紋飾,濃淡層次豐富多變,展現畫師巧技,運用點染、堆疊、渲染、針刻,青花表現精采酣暢。



宋代以降,游魚穿梭豐美水藻叢間,為水墨常見題材,宋一朝即有數名畫家以畫魚聞名。其中最為重要之先行者,要數徽宗年間畫師劉寀(圖一)。


宋徽宗乃中國史上首屈一指之藝術鑑賞家,且尊崇道教文化。如斯寫生題材,難度甚高,且於文士所見,富象徵意涵。自從公元前五世紀末之道家經典《莊子》,游魚屢成寓言主題。其中最膾炙人口者,要屬莊子與儒者惠子就「魚之樂」的機智對辯,莊子見魚悠游水中,稱魚之樂,惠子反問「子非魚,安知魚之樂?」反覆答辯後,以莊子智答「子曰『汝安知魚樂』云者,既已知吾知之而問我,我知之濠上也。」作結。


FIG. 3 A BLUE AND WHITE ‘FISH POND’ BRUSH WASHER, MARK AND PERIOD OF XUANDE, EXCAVATED FROM THE MING IMPERIAL KILN SITE AT JINGDEZHENAFTER: XUANDE IMPERIAL PORCELAIN EXCAVATED AT JINGDEZHEN, CHANG FOUNDATION, TAIPEI, 1998, CAT. NO. 19-2.

圖三 明宣德 青花魚藻紋葵花式筆洗 《大明宣德年製》款 景德鎮珠山明代御窰廠遺址出土出處:《景德鎮出土明宣德官窰瓷器》,鴻禧美術館,台北,1998年,編號19-2


元一朝,青花魚藻紋已甚為盛行,可見於盤、盌,尤以大罐最是出色。此件葵花式洗雖異於元例,仍沿用其技法,以針刻剔葉上鈷藍,露纖白葉脈。


魚藻紋搭配筆洗器形,適洽無雙,書畫之際,於中注滿清水,宛若漫漫荷塘,生意盎然,尋思下筆之時,望魚閒游,幾似筆洗已化為無形,獨留案頭一潭逍遙。宣德帝尤好詩文雅趣,此類筆洗應非用於撰批政事,而作閒暇書畫用。Edward L. Dreyer 在其著作中指,宣德帝才華洋溢,詩畫皆通,對此類閒暇雅事幾乎要比對國事更為熱衷,見《Early Ming China. A Political History, 1355-1435》,史丹福,1982年,頁226,他又提及宣德帝不僅勤政治國,對於仕人亦是公正不倚,受後代學士敬崇,視為輝煌盛世,見同書頁236。


嘉靖帝崇尚道家學說,當朝續燒此類魚藻紋葵花式洗,台北故宮博物院藏一件嘉靖年款作例,刊錄於《故宮藏瓷:明青花瓷(五)》,香港,1963年,圖版21。另一件原為 Myron S. Falk 珍藏,2001年10月16日售於紐約佳士得,編號143。


現知僅有另外三件宣德青花魚藻紋葵花式洗,其一發現於天津市,錄於《文物》,1977年,1期,頁92。另一件原為玫茵堂所藏,錄於康蕊君,《玫茵堂中國陶瓷》,倫敦,1994-2010年,卷4,編號1653,2011年4月7日售於香港蘇富比,編號54(圖二);第三件,尺寸較小(16公分),售於北京翰海1995年10月7日,編號1031。一件紋飾相同之殘器,見於景德鎮珠山明代御窰廠遺址,收錄於《景德鎮出土明宣德官窰瓷器》,鴻禧美術館,台北,1998年,編號19-2(圖三),頁202指出萬曆初詩人劇作家屠隆(1542-1605年)曾記載宣窰魚藻葵式洗,但北京故宮藏一宣德狩獵圖,描繪同類瓷洗用作玉壺春瓶之托座。當然,洗與玉壺春瓶可盛水成套使用,可能不用時才疊在一起,而非刻意專作托座用。


FIG. 4 A BLUE AND WHITE 'FISH AND POND' DISH, MARK AND PERIOD OF XUANDE © COLLECTION OF TAIPEI PALACE MUSEUM

圖四 青花蓮塘魚藻紋盤 《大明宣德年製》款 © 台北故宮博物院


同樣紋飾亦見於宣德款青花盤,參見《明代宣德官窰菁華特展圖錄》,故宮博物院,台北,1998年,編號180(圖四)。


直至1930年代,此葵式洗為荷籍古董商 Peter Boode 所藏,1910年代始 Boode 屢次赴華,1930、40年代時,活躍於倫敦藝術界。此洗後入艾弗瑞.克拉克伉儷中國陶瓷收藏,克氏珍藏盛名遠播,藏品大多購入於1920至40年代間。此器曾借展倫敦皇家藝術學院1935、36年中國藝術大展,展後不久為克氏購得,之後亦多次出借倫敦東方陶瓷學會展覽。


The Clark ‘Fish Pond’ Brush Washer

Regina Krahl


he radiant painting of this brush washer displays a freedom of the brush rarely seen in the official designs of China’s imperial kilns – in the same way as fishes swimming in a lotus pond evoke the spirit of freedom from all restraints.


The painters of imperial porcelain active at Jingdezhen in the Xuande period (1426-35) were artists rather than mere artisans; but much of their work consisted of rendering to strict specifications from the court precisely prescribed images of dragons, phoenixes and other significant motifs on porcelain, designed to symbolize the status of the Emperor rather than to be enjoyed for their beauty and charm. Occasionally, however, they could devote time to creating less regulated, auspicious designs for porcelains that would be used at less official occasions. This is when they were able to indulge in free brushwork and to display their true mastership, and where in the Xuande period they created some of the most spirited and enchanting paintings on porcelain. There is hardly a nature subject that requires from the artist sharper observation directly from life than fishes among water plants, and that allows him to display his mastery more strikingly than the vivacious movement in a pond. In the present design the painter further excelled in rendering a wide range of cobalt-blue tones by applying different washes and rendering different textures through dotting, hatching and engraving.


Fishes darting about among densely growing water plants had been a recurrent theme of ink painters at least since the Song dynasty (960-1279), when various artists specialized in this genre. One of the earliest and most important of these fish painters, Liu Cai (fig. 1), was active during the reign of Emperor Huizong (r. 1101-25), who was not only one of China’s greatest connoisseurs and patrons of the arts, but also one its most fervent Daoist rulers. Apart from representing a challenging subject for nature studies, fish paintings were also popular on account of their symbolic message that would have been immediately obvious to educated observers. Their presumed freedom of spirit can be traced to the book Zhuangzi, a compilation of Daoist texts with origins in the 5th/4th century BC. One of the most popular passages in this text is a witty exchange between the Daoist master who, after claiming that darting around the water is what fish really enjoy, was challenged by a Confucian scholar ‘how he knows that’, and after several sophistical exchanges eventually wins the argument by claiming that the question ‘how he knows it’ already implies that he knows it.


FIG. 1 FISH SWIMMING AMID FALLING FLOWERS, ATTRIBUTED TO LIUCAI (ACTIVE C.1080-1120), HANDSCROLL, INK AND COLOURON SILK, SONG DYNASTY, WILLIAM K. BIXBY TRUST FORASIAN ART 97:1926.1 © THE SAINT LOUIS ARTMUSEUM

圖一 傳劉寀《落花遊魚圖》手卷 設色絹本 WILLIAM K. BIXBY TRUST FORASIAN ART 97:1926.1© 聖路易藝術博物館


As decoration for blue-and-white porcelain the design of fish freely swimming in a lotus pond was popular since the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), when it appeared on dishes, bowls and particularly successfully on large storage jars. Although the present washer differs in style from those Yuan prototypes, it has borrowed from that period the depiction of the veins of lotus leaves by needle-engraving through the cobalt-blue wash to make them stand out in white.


There can surely be no more pertinent use of this design than on a brush washer, and no better design for a brush washer than a fish pond. When washing his brush, the imperial writer or painter would look into the depth of a pond filled with aquatic life and, while pondering over the next stroke, could follow the fishes’ movements even by gazing at the outside of his washer, as if the vessel were transparent. Needless to say, a washer such as this would not have been used for writing about affairs of state, but for an Emperor’s pleasurable pastimes such as painting, practicing calligraphy, or writing poetry – activities the Xuande Emperor was particularly fond of. According to Edward L. Dreyer (Early Ming China. A Political History, 1355-1435, Stanford, 1982, p. 226) “A talented artist and poet, [the Xuande Emperor] was somewhat more interested in these and other private pleasures than in governing.” Yet, also according to Dreyer (p. 236), he was “both attentive to his duties as head of state and reasonably impartial in his treatment of the groups that composed the ruling elite … subsequent generations of Ming officials looked back nostalgically on the Hsüan-te [Xuande] period as a golden age of good government”.


The design of this washer was closely copied in the Jiajing reign, which is not surprising since the Jiajing Emperor (r. 1522-66) was a fervent Daoist. A washer of this pattern, of Jiajing mark and period, in the Taipei Palace Museum is illustrated in Porcelain of the Palace Museum. Blue-and-White Ware of the Ming Dynasty, book V, Hong Kong, 1963, pl. 21; and another from the collection of Myron S. Falk was sold at Christie’s New York, 16th October 2001, lot 143.


FIG. 2 A BLUE AND WHITE ‘FISH POND’ BRUSH WASHER, MARK AND PERIOD OF XUANDE, FROM THE MEIYINTANG COLLECTION, SOTHEBY’S HONG KONG, 7TH APRIL 2011, LOT 54.

圖二 明宣德 青花魚藻紋葵花式筆洗 《大明宣德年製》款 玫茵堂舊藏 香港蘇富比2011年4月7日,編號54


Only three other brush washers of this design and Xuande mark and period appear to be recorded: one discovered in Tianjin city, published in Wenwu 1977, no. 1, p. 92; another from the Meiyintang collection, illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, 1994-2010, vol. 4, no. 1653, and sold in these rooms, 7th April 2011, lot 54 (fig. 2); and a third, of smaller size (16 cm), sold at Hanhai Art Auction Corp., Beijing, 7th October 1995, lot 1031. A broken and discarded example of this pattern was recovered from the Ming imperial kiln site and included in the exhibition Xuande Imperial Porcelain Excavated at Jingdezhen, Chang Foundation, Taipei, 1998, cat. no. 19-2 (fig. 3). The Taipei catalogue states (p. 202) that in the early Wanli period the poet and dramatist Tu Long (1542-1605) mentioned mallow-flower shaped Xuande period washers with fish and aquatic plants, but that a painting in the Palace Museum, Beijing, depicting a Xuande hunting scene, shows a vessel of this type serving as a stand for a pear-shaped bottle. Of course, filled with water, the bottle may have been used together with the washer as a set, one placed inside the other while not in use, rather than the washer being deliberately used as a stand for the bottle.


The same design appears also on the inside of a dish of Xuande mark and period in the Taipei Palace Museum, included in the Museum’s Mingdai Xuande guanyao jinghua tezhan tulu/Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Selected Hsüan-te Imperial Porcelains of the Ming Dynasty, Taipei, 1998, no. 180 (fig. 4).


Peter Boode, who owned the washer until the 1930s, was a Dutch antique dealer who went to China from the 1910s onwards and was particularly active in London in the ‘30s and ‘40s. Mr and Mrs Alfred Clark, who acquired the piece shortly after the Royal Academy of Arts exhibition, London 1935/6, assembled one of the finest collections of Chinese ceramics largely between the ‘20s and ‘40s and themselves lent generously to that exhibition as well as to the various exhibitions of the Oriental Ceramic Society in London thereafter.

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