QING DYNASTY, 18TH-19TH CENTURY
The stand has a removable chamfered rectangular top with flared ruyi-shaped legs supported by a
recessed apron and bound together by a stretcher. The surface is well polished to a deep chocolatebrown
tone. The ruyi legs each have incised inscriptions in three sections.
The upper section of the first leg is inscribed in seal script Luan zujun 欒左軍, followed by the text 右欒 左軍戈銘三字 “To the right are the three characters Luan zuojun “Commandant of the Left Luan” from a dagger axe inscription.”
The second section of the first leg reads:
|留香瑤席 。||Leave Fragrance Behind When You Leave Your Exquisite Seat.|
|發艷翠磁 。||Radiate Alure with Beautiful Dark Hair and Porcelain Face.|
|安置妥帖 。||Sleep Soundly When You Go To Bed.|
|春風四時 。||Great Sex Life in All Four Seasons.|
|子冶先生屬葯房銘||Inscription for a Pharmacy Composed by Mr. Ziye|
Mr. Ziye, known as Qu Yingshao 瞿應紹 (1778-1849), was a painter and ceramics artist. His personal
name (zi 字) was Bizhu 陛著, and sobriquets were Ziye 子冶 (Master Smelter) and Yuehu 月壺 (Moon
Jar), also signing himself Laoye (Old Smelter), and his studio name was Yuxiu Tang 毓秀堂 (Hall Where
Excellence is Nourished). He was a native of the Songjiang 松江 in Shanghai. During the Jiaqing era
(1796-1820) Qu was made a tribute student and eventually rose to the office of vice-magistrate of
Yuhuan 玉環 in the Zhejiang Province.
The bottom section of the first legs translates to:
|太康三年八月六日右尚方造十銅釜重九斤七兩第一 “Taikang 3rd year, 8th month, 6th day [25 September 282], to the right [is the inscription]. The Directorate for Imperial Manufactories made ten bronze cauldrons, nine catties and seven ounces in weight; this is number one.”|
|晉太康釜銘二十二字||Cauldron inscription in twenty-two characters of the Taikang era, Jin dynasty|
|武虛谷搨本桐生摩||Rubbing by Wu Xugu emulated by Tongsheng|
Wu Xugu is Wu Yi 武億 (1745-1799), personal name (zi 字) Xugu 虛谷, native of Yanshi 偃師in the
Henan Province, was a noted epigrapher who amassed an enormous collection of inscriptions on metal
and stone. His published works include the Yanshi jinshi lu 偃師金石錄 (Record of Inscriptions on Metal
and Stone from Yanshi) and the Anyang jinshi lu 安陽縣金石錄 (Record of Inscriptions on Metal and
Stone from Anyang). Tongsheng is Zhu Fengbing 朱逢丙, original given name (ming 名) Bofeng 伯
鳳, sobriquet (hao 號) Tongsheng 桐生, and native of Huating 華亭 (present-day Songjiang 松江in
Shanghai), was an extremely adept seal carver, whose reputation is said to have almost surpassed that of
Wen Zhang 章文, personal name (zi 字) Jianfu 簡甫 (early 16th century), the great mid-Ming carver. He
was particularly skilled at bamboo carving and his carvings of auspicious bronzes and celebratory steles
hanging scroll pictures in particular enjoyed rather wide circulation.
The upper portion of the second leg is signed Bofeng 伯鳳 and reads:
|右漢司正鼒銘||To the right is the inscription ‘Director Sifang’ on a zi 鼒 (tripod with small top opening)|
For notes on Bofeng, see the above text for Zhu Fengbing 朱逢丙.
The second section is an inscribed poem which reads:
|規之矩之從直斯正||With results of compass and square followed exactly it must be right,|
|準之繩之惟平乃定||And only when true to level and straight edge are measurements fixed.|
|子冶先生屬馮水輝銘||Inscription for Feng Shuihui Drafted by Mr. Ziye|
The inscription seems to be originally for a signboard for the carpenter Feng Shuihui. For Ziye, see above Qu Yingshao 瞿應紹.
The last section translates to:
|宋平公鐘||Duke Ping of Song Bell|
|宋公戌之莖鐘||Duke Xu of Song Jing Bell|
|宋平公鐘銘六字據宋搨本摩||Inscription in six characters on the Duke Ping of Song Bell|
The jing of Jing Bell in the inscription is not included in the current unicode set. However it is identified
as interchangeable with 莖as it occurs in the expression wujing 五莖, a type of ancient music. So the
bell involved must be a bell used to play this kind of music. Xu 戌 is the personal name of Duke Ping
of Song, though good evidence exists that its reading here is a mistake for cheng 成, for Duke Ping of
Song, who ruled 575 BC-532 BC, had for his personal name Zicheng 子成.
The first section of the third leg is inscribed 永平鋒銘 “Yongping era Blade Inscription” and 宜子子永平二年 “May this be used for sacrifices generation after generation, Yongping ernian” [Eastern Han Dynasty, 59 AD]”
The second section of the third leg reads:
|以用如羲之所題之扇耶 。||Shall this prove as useful as the fans inscribed by Xizhi?|
|具用也如琴之有所為薦耶 。||Or should its usefulness be like that of the zither that led to a sleeping mat?|
|鴻南為||Composed by Hongnan|
|子冶銘||Inscription by Ziye|
Xizhi 羲之 refers to the renowned calligrapher Wang Xizhi 王羲之 (321-379), who, as legend has it, once
inscribed folding fans that an impoverished old woman was desperately trying to sell; once inscribed she sold
them all for a tidy sum. The rest of the inscription seems to refer to Yuan Zhen’s (779-831) famous Yingying
zhuan 鶯鶯傳 (Story of Yingying), in which the abandoned Yingying says: 兒女之心，不能自固。君子有援琴之
挑，鄙人無投梭之拒。及薦寢席，義盛意深。愚陋之情，永謂終托。“I could not keep my young girl’s heart firm,
so when you used your zither as a ploy to inflame it, I lacked the way to repulse you by throwing a shuttle.
When I was sharing my sleeping mat with you, you seemed so thoroughly decent and deeply committed
that, stupid and simple-minded me, I thought it meant I could always depend on you.” “Zither” alludes to the
story of Sima Xiangru 司馬相如 (179-117 BC) who enticed the widow Zhuo Wenjun to elope with him, and
“throwing a shuttle” refers to the story of how a neighbor’s girl repulsed Xie Kun 謝鯤 (280-322) by throwing
a shuttle at him, knocking out two teeth. The inscription implies that, on the one hand, the table on which
it is inscribed will gain greaty in value thank to the calligraphy on it, and, on the other, (rather far-fetched)
it can be used to seduce young women! I suppose this is meant as a joke. The inscription was apparently
composed by Zhang Hongnan 張鴻南(1860-1921), personal name (zi 字) Huixuan 耀軒, and sobriquet (hao
號) Hongnan 鴻南, a native of Mei district 梅縣, Guangdong, a Hakka merchant and banker, was active in
overseas trade and development, including a large agricultural estate in Sumatra.
The last section of the third leg reads:
|靈璧石木為牀||This Lingbi stone is now mounted on wood for its bed|
|得所歸白璧堂||Having found its way back to White Jade Disk Hall.|
|紫珊銘||Inscription by Zishan|
Lingbi refers to scholar’s rocks from Lingbi in the Anhui Province, while the “White Jade Disk Hall” alludes to a poem by the late Tang or early Song poet Hu Su 胡宿 (identity and dates controversial), Houjia 侯家 “Nobleman’s Home”, one couplet of which reads: 彩雲按曲青岑醴 / 沈水薰衣白璧堂 “While rosy clouds beat time there’s green hills sweet wine / As deep waters perfume our clothes at White Jade Disk Hall.” The stone thus has a well-cared for home in some “rustic” retreat. Zishan 紫珊 (Purple Coral) is the sobriquet (hao 號) of Xu Weiren 徐渭仁 (fl. ca. 1843 and died sometime after 1854). A native of Shanghai, he was a noted calligrapher and fine painter who emulated the Song and Yuan masters. A meticulous connoisseur, he amassed an enormous art and antiquities collection.
The upper section of the fourth leg has a seal script inscription: Jin Tang 金湯 “Metal Bright and Beautiful” followed by the inscription 右漢湯金銅器銘 “To the right is ‘Tangjin’ (Bright and Beautiful Metal) of the Han inscription on a bronze vessel.” Note the character tang 湯 is likely written for dang 璗, which in this context means “bright and beautiful.”
The middle section of the fourth leg can be translated as:
|雷其文。夔龍其人 。||Thunder his writing, dragons the man|
|桐生朱伯鳳銘并篆||Tongshen, Zhu Bofeng, Inscription combined with seal script|
Both thunder clouds and dragons embellish bronze vessels, but here they are borrowed to praise someone:
his writing when read aloud is like thunder; and he is a “dragon” of a man, full of energy and virility—the
dragon is the symbol of the yang principle. For Tongsheng and Zhu Bofeng, see above Zhu Fengbing 朱逢丙.
The last section of the fourth leg reads:
|無以為之下 。無以成乎上 。匪器||If one has nothing to offer below, there’s no way success is had above.
It’s not the position that should be esteemed
|是尚 。惟人是尚 。七薌銘 。||but the man himself who should be esteemed. Inscription by Qixiang.|
|試鼠鬚筆書於碧壺中||Trying to use a mouse whiskers brush to write on a jasper bottle.|
Qixiang 七薌 is a sobriquet of Gai Qi 改琦 (1774-1829), a native of Songjiang 松江 in Shanghai, a prolific and popular painter who excelled at figure painting, Buddhist figures, landscapes, orchids and bamboos, among other subjects. She was a woman who was a major figure in artistic circles of Shanghai during the early 19th century and helped found a local poetry society and seems to have been well connected with other poets. Gai, in collaboration Xu Wenren 徐渭仁 provided the illustrations while Qu Yingshao 瞿應紹 contributed verse inscriptions (tiyong 題詠) for the Honglou men tuyong 紅樓夢圖詠 (Dream of the Red Chamber: Verses and Illustrations), first published in 1816. She and Qu Yingshao 瞿應紹contributed illustrations and inscriptions to the same yixing teapots and the ware seem to have attracted many Jiangnan artists. In 1842 during the British attack on Shanghai, the Shanghai district government recruited local eminent people to help in the defense, including Xu Weiren 徐渭仁 and Qu Yingshao 瞿應紹. Since these three contemporaries obviously knew each other, it is possible that they and Zhu Fengbing 朱逢丙 collaborated on the table leg inscriptions.
A Private Japanese Collection
清十八/ 十九世紀 紫檀嵌癭木詩文賞石几