The cylindrical exterior of the bitong incised in xingshu, running script, with a short poem by Su Shi, followed by the cyclical date, 1849, or, less likely, 1909, and ending with the inscription Yunxi (雲溪), which could either be the name of the place where this brush pot was carved or the name of the carver.
Su Shi (8 January 1037 – 24 August 1101), also known as Su Dongpo, was a Chinese writer, poet, painter, calligrapher, pharmacologist, gastronome, and a statesman of the Song dynasty. A major personality of the Song era, Su was an important figure in Song Dynasty politics, aligning himself with Sima Guang and others, against the New Policy party led by Wang Anshi. Su Shi was famed as an essayist, and his prose writings lucidly contribute to the understanding of topics such as 11th-century Chinese travel literature or detailed information on the contemporary Chinese iron industry. His poetry has a long history of popularity and influence in China, Japan, and other areas in the near vicinity and is well known in the English-speaking parts of the world through the translations by Arthur Waley, among others. In terms of the arts, Su Shi has some claim to being "the pre-eminent personality of the eleventh century."
Shape: Natural bamboo cylinder
Weight: 118 grams
Dimensions: Height 12,6 cm, diameter 6,2 cm
Condition: Good condition with several natural hairlines as visible on the pictures
Provenance: French private collection
Literature comparison: Uncanny Ingenuity and Celestial Feats, The Carvings of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Bamboo, Wood and Fruit Stones. The National Palace Museum of Taipei. Chi Jo-hsin. Page 36. (compare with an earlier inscribed bamboo brush pot of similar dimensions)
Auction result comparison: IMPORTANT CHINESE WORKS OF ART (PART I). Christies, Hong Kong, 28 November 2005, lot 1479. (for a similar brush pot from the 19th century) WATER, PINE AND STONE RETREAT COLLECTION – PLAYTHINGS. Christies, 02 JUNE 2016, HONG KONG lot 47. (for another inscribed bamboo brush pot from the 19th century)