Snuff jar dating
Ban Shan is the art name (hao) of Gan Xuan, an artist and calligrapher believed to have invented the art of inside snuff bottle painting.Gan Xuan also signed his snuff bottles with Yiru Jushi, Yun Feng and Gu Kaiqiao, initially misleading scholars into believing these were all names of different artists.The early school The first known inside painted snuff bottles are dating from 1800-1805, the beginning of the early school.These first bottles are cristal ones, sometimes faceted and painted with black ink.According to the Hong Kong-based researcher Liang Xingzhi, Gan Xuan prepared his rock crystal snuff bottles by filling them with finely ground granite powder and water.He then kept shaking the bottles until the interior surface became rough enough for ink and pigments to adhere to it.The famous Ye Benqi continued his work and in the 1970’, Ye Zhongsan granddaughter, Ye Shuyin, one of the first woman inside painter, who worked during the Cultural Revolution.Yan Yutian is another Zhou Leyuan pupil and his works are not expansive in comparison with his great skill. A few bottles are dated 1888 and signed Zhou Leyuan in tribute to his master, but with Yan Yutian seal. Ma Shaoxuan (1867-1939) begins to paint from 1892 onwards and became painter of the Imperial court from 1904.
His paintings and calligraphies reached a very high quality. He founded a real dysnasty of snuff bottles inside painters, with his sons and his workshop called “Apricot grove Studio” until the 1940’.
According to Chinese researchers, Gan Xuan was active from Jiaqing to Xianfeng Period, with his earliest known piece dating to 1816, and his last known piece dating to 1860.
British scholarship has set his chronology even earlier, to 1802-1811.
He then used a bamboo pen with a bent tip to write and paint inside the bottle, using meticulously controlled strokes.
An early 19th century, rare inside-inscribed rock crystal snuff bottle signed 'Ban Shan' and 'Yun Feng' is offered in our 7 November Fine Asian Works of Art auction in London.
The master of this school is Yiru Jushi that began to paint around 1805 on 18th century bottles.