Naturalism and Archaism are considered the two most important ideals within the Chinese Scholarly aesthetic and this collection features many fine examples.
Refined, simplistic design is at the core of Naturalism with some craftsmen going as far as to limit ‘human interference’, allowing the vessel to form naturally. Alternately, in Naturalism, the vessel can represent a natural form, such as a lotus flower, or portray natural landscape scenes, the latter of which is known as “Mind Travel”, as it encourages the viewer to take a journey through the landscape, around the vessel or across the painting.
Archaism uses styles and methods learned from an ancient master. Many scholarly creators of archaism will meticulously copy the form of an archaic object and will usually collect such objects as points of reference for their work.
An extraordinary example of Naturalism can be seen in the rare Chinese Burlwood Brushpot, illustrated above. Intricately carved to portray a natural landscape with a pine tree, rock formations and a waterfall, this pot represents the Chinese scholarly idea of ‘Mind Travel’ as it leads takes the viewer on a journey across its landscape.
The collection also includes a fine group of Song Dynasty Ceramics, considered by many connoisseurs to be the finest ceramics ever made.
Highlights include a fine Qingbai Ewer and Cover (northern Song Dynasty, 960-1125), probably used for tea ceremonies, this extremely rare set is remarkable in that very few of this period have an original cover, or are seen in such good condition.
Another exceptional item is a Chinese Permisson Ding Shallow Bowl, also from the Song Dynasty period. The wares of the Song Period are simple but elegant and their beauty measured by the shape and the glaze. Ding ware was one of the top five ceramics kilns during the Song dynasty, usually producing white wares making the silver flecked glaze seen in this piece extremely rare. Simplistic in form, it represents the Chinese scholar’s aesthetic ideal in Naturalism.
The renowned white porcelain from best essay writing the Ding Kilns of the Hebei Province was popular among the Imperial Court. This shallow tea bowl is a rare example of ‘red Ding’ and the white body is covered is covered with a finely flecked persimmon glaze.
Finally, a set of archaic bronze chariot fittings, buried for over two thousand years, are rare and historically significant. Subject to natural corrosion, they were expertly cleaned to reveal the intricate silver and gold design, but eminent London Dealer, Jules Speilman, was wise enough to leave two of them in their original state.