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Lot 351. A famille-verte 'Zhang Xu' bottle vase, Qing Dynasty, Kangxi Period (1662-1722). Height 9 in., 22.9 cm. Estimate 15,000 - 25,000 USD. Lot sold 27,500 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.

the ovoid body rising to a tall cylindrical neck encircled at the mid-section with a single raised fillet, the rounded sides delicately enameled with a scene depicting an emperor, standing in a pale yellow robe appreciating the work of the famous calligrapher Zhang Xu, the scholar attired in a bright green robe, kneeling while dipping a brush onto an inkstone held aloft by a young assistant, scholarly objects atop a table in the background and several wine pots, a small bat fluttering above, the reverse with a three line poetic inscription and two seal marks, the base with an apocryphal six-character Chenghua mark, coll. no. 1591. 

Provenance: Geoffrey Waters, London.

Note: The inscription is a stanza from Eight Immortals of the Wine Cup by Du Fu (712-770) and may be translated as,

Give three cupfuls to the calligrapher Zhang Xu and his writing becomes inspired—he throws off his cap before the officials and his brush produces cloud and mist

Zhang Xu (710-750), also known as Zhang Changshi for his official post, was a native of today's Suzhou of Jiangsu Province. Zhang once served as a regional officer and was famous for his exuberant, bold style of cursive calligraphy.

Sotheby's. Kangxi: The Jie Rui Tang Collection, Part II, New York, 19 March 2019