A Large Zitan Brush Pot - Imperial Dragons - Qing
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Directory: Archives: Regional Art: Pre 1920: Item # 1178743
Ichiban Japanese & Oriental Antiques
Post Office Box 395
Marion, CT 06444-0395
This is a superb large Zitan brush pot - decorated over the entire surface with highly intricate designed carving of four dragons in the clouds - three are chasing the tamba , sacred pearl - the other faces head on in the classic Imperial Chinese Dragon posture and clutching the tamba in one claw. The dragons claws have five toes - another feature supposedly reserved for the Imperial art has the gently rounded lip on the upper rim that is characteristic of the earlier pieces. There appears to have a coat of either very thin lacquer or some other dressing to maintain its high gloss appearance. You can see the characteristic hare's fur grain quite clearly in the close-up photos of the rims and the interior.
The brush pot measures 7 3/4"high and is 8"in diameter. The top rim is rounded and has a carved geometric band in a fret like design just below the rim. There is a plug in the base of the pot made from the same wood. The piece is in wonderful condition with no chips or cracks. What could appear to be cracks on the bottom - see photo 12 - are really traces of lacquer or some dark substance that form the steaks that look like cracks in the piece. We assure you - there are NO cracks. We date it to the late Qing Dynasty. You might also see a small square spot on the bottom of the pot in the last photo. That is where an old label or price tag was once located and this left an imprint of the adhesive.
Zitan is the conventional term used to refer to the wood of the Red Sanders or Red Sandalwood tree of the rosewood family. As an ornamental material, Zitan has been coveted by craftsmen and collectors since time immemorial, on account of its luxurious texture and rich, dark, wavy hues, which range in contrast from black and red to purple.