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Inksticks with Paintings and Qianlong Emperor's Poems

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Period: Qianlong reign (1736-1795), Qing dynasty (1644-1911)

A set of nine pieces:

 Egg Plants by Shen Zhou, diameter: 10.4 cm, Thick: 1.5 cm
Mountains and Rivers by Wu Li, length: 15.8 cm, width: 8.4 cm, thickness: 1.4 cm
Forests, Gullies, Clouds and Springs
by Wang Meng, diameter: 12 cm, thickness: 1.5 cm
Bamboos by Wang Meng, Length: 14.1 cm, width: 7.1 cm, thickness: 1.5 cm
Flowers and Birds by Huang Quan, length; 11.8 cm, Width: 11.8 cm, thickness: 1.5 cm
Pines and Rocks by Wen Zhengming, length: 14.6 cm, Width: 7.6 cm, thickness: 1.4 cm
Mountains and Rivers by Wang Chong, length: 16.5 cm, Width: 7.9 cm, thickness: 1.4 cm
Mountains and Rivers by Wang Fu, length: 11.6 cm, thickness: 1.5 cm
Leaves and Vegetable by Fang Hu, diameter: 9.9 cm, thickness: 1.5 cm

Each inkstick is embellished with a famous painting on the front and a poem by the Qianlong Emperor on the back. All the pieces are of different sizes and shapes including flower petals, rectangular, round, and octagonal. Of the paintings the earliest one is the Birds and Apricot Blossoms by Huang Quan (903-965) of the Later Shu in the Five dynasties (9-907-979). Another two copy relatively early paintings were by the Yuan dynasty master Wang Meng (ca. 1308-1385), to wit Forests, Gullies, Clouds and Springs and Bamboo. The remaining six follow paintings by masters of the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911). The Qianlong Emperor composed poems based on these paintings or their themes, and ordered them carved on the back. Following the poems are several of the Qianlong Emperor's unofficial seals, reading "Qianlong Emperor", "Enjoying in leisure" (jixia yiqing), "Leisure beside the pond" (jixia linchi), "Achieving wonder" (de jiaqu) and "Qianlong's Brushwork" (Qianlong chenhan).   
  As a painter with great attainments, the Qianlong Emperor was enthusiastic about paintings and treasured large numbers of masterpieces. He usually composed poems for his collections to express his ambition. The artists selected the painting and carved them in miniature on inkstick molds according to their original proportions. Their sophisticated carving successfully recreates those famous paintings in limited space.   
  This set is exceptionally fine because of the high quality of the inksticks and exquisite carvings.

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