A set of “Chinese Zodiac Head Statue” Mugwort Leaf Green Stone Seals by Zhou Shangjun (Zhou Bin)

6 months ago

Lot No. :HRCS-ZSJ-200306
Artist:Zhou Shangjun (Zhou Bin) (1*) (1861-1930)
Feature:A set of stone seals, 12 pieces, mugwort Leaf Green Stone(2*).
Source:Private collection
1* Zhou Bin was born in Fujian during the Kangxi period of the Qing dynasty. He was a master craftsman of seal carving and his works were highly praised by Chinese literati. Shangjun is the 'zi' name for Zhou Bin, a native of Zhangzhou in Fujian, historically renowned as the most accomplished of all the known soapstone carvers. Little is known of his exact dates, but it is clear that his craftsmanship was appreciated by the scholar class, and that he expressed himself within their aesthetic. Throughout the Qing period, he was admired, as can be seen from an inscription on a Zhou Bin seal by the late Qing painter Wu Changshuo (1844-1927), 'This stone was carved by Zhou Shangjun, we should especially treasure it'. In his definitive work on soapstone, Shoushanshi zhi (Records of Shoushan Stone), Fujian, 1982, Fang Zonggui expounds that Zhou Bin's work encapsulated the technique of 'xieyi', the thin, low-relief, painterly style of carving. 'Xieyi' literally translates as 'idea painting', but in literati eyes, through its association with a free, expressionist style, it transcended the medium of sculpture and became associated with the higher art of painting, thereby assuming the potential for profundity. Beijing Poly has auctioned his "256g Tianhuang stone seal" in 2011, it was sold for RMB13.8 million. In 2014, his seal "13g Tianhuang stone seal" was sold for RMB 460,000 in Fujian Southeast Auction. In March 2017, France Kâ-Mondo Auction sold his Shoushan stone Luohan decoration, was EUR 162000 (without commission).
2* Mugwort Leaf Green stone is a mineral containing silvery metal sand points. It was the best stone for carving seals in the middle of the Qing Dynasty, which is very rare. Due to the influence of the geographical climate in the north, the Liaoning Pit is the first stone to make seals, followed by the Shoushan of Fujian. Mugwort Leaf Green Stone of Shoushan Stone was the most popular in the Ming Dynasty. After the Qing Dynasty, Qianlong Emperor liked Tianhuang stone more than Mugwort Leaf Green Stone, and promoted it. Mugwort Leaf Green stone, Tianhuang stone, and White Furong are also called "Shoushan Stone Three Treasures".


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