A gilt-metal mounted blue and white inkwell. The porcelain Ming dynasty, 16th century, the mounts later
of compressed barrel form, painted around the exterior in brilliant cobalt-blue tones with a leafy lotus scroll between geometric dot bands, the flat with domed and pierced central lotus boss encircled by three circular and one rectangular apertures divided by leafy composite floral sprays, gilt-bronze mounts with glass containers. 14.5cm., 5 3/4 in. Est. 6,000—8,000 GBP. Lot Sold 7,500 GBP
NOTE: Vessels of this shape but painted with various designs are known; for example, one decorated with fish swimming amongst water plants is published in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red (II), Shanghai, 2000, pl. 114; and another depicting birds perched in a flowering prunus tree was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 1st April, 1992, lot 988. See also a vessel decorated with figures in a landscape, in the British Museum, London, illustrated in Jessica Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics, London, 2001, pl. 9:32, where the author notes that the 'late Ming scholar Wen Zhenheng records in his Changwi Ji [Notes on Superfluous Things] that drum-shaped brush pots with holes were made to hold ink sticks and brushes. Indeed a painting of the philosopher Wang Yingming, seated at his writing desk, illustrates just such a drum-shaped brush and ink stand with brushes inserted into the holes by their bases, tip uppermost', (Ibid., p. 229).
Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art. 13 May 09. London www.sothebys.com