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Scholar's Implements


QING DYNASTY (1644-1911)

H: 15.3CM

The cylindrical brushpot is carved from a single section of bamboo and set with zitan rims around the mouth and foot. The brushpot is carved with a poem, which reads:

翩若驚鴻 Tripping the water lightly as a startled swan,
婉若游龍 Lithesome as a swimming dragon,
榮曜秋菊 More brilliant than autumn chrysanthemums,
華茂春松 More magnificent than spring pines,
彷彿兮若輕雲之蔽月 She seems, oh, like the moon hidden in light clouds,
飄颻兮若流風之迴雪 Dancing about, oh, like snow whirling in the wind.
遠而望之 Looking from afar,
皓若太陽升朝霞 She shines as does the sun ascending rosy dawn clouds,
迫而察之 Observing her nearby,
灼若芙蕖出淥波 節錄洛神賦 She glitters as does a lotus blossom emerging from clear ripples.
南厓製 Written by Nanya (South Cliff)

The poem is excerpted from the Luoshen fu (Rhapsody on the Luo River Goddess) [by Cao Zhi 曹植 (192-232). Several Qing figures had Nanya as an alternate name, but by far the most likely is the literatus and official Zhu Gui 朱珪 (1730-1806), whom contemporaries considered one of the finest calligraphers of the age. Zhu’s personal name was Shijun 石君, his sobriquets were Nanya 南厓 (South Cliff) and later in life Pantuo laoren (Hibernating Old Man). He was a native of Daxing 大興 in Zhili 直隸. Zhu attained the jinshi degree in 1748, and the highest offices he attained were Tirenge da xueshi 體仁閣大學士 (Senior Scholar in the Embody Benevolence Pavilion) and Taifu 太傅 (Grand Mentor) to the heir apparent, the future emperor Jiaqing. The excerpt here is most likely a copy of one of Zhu’s more well-known calligraphic pieces.