Eastern Han Dynasty Emperor Kwan -Wu Jade Ink Stone Drops, 光武御製羊脂白玉玉鷹硯滴H.15cm, L.18cm,1000grams.



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東漢漢光武帝”光武御製”銘文羊脂白玉玉鷹硯滴, H.15cm, L.18cm, 1000grams

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硯滴又稱水滴、書滴,貯存硯水供磨墨之用,《飲流齋說瓷》:「凡作物形而貯水不多則名曰滴。」硯滴最早出現於漢代,硯滴多為龜蛇熊羊之形,北京故宮博物院藏有漢代羊形青玉硯滴,長7cm,高5.6cm,口徑1.6cm,古樸渾厚。本器羊脂白玉雕琢, 形制為玉鷹形硯滴, 紋飾輪廓以黑彩描繪。 就整體造型而言,母鷹背負子鷹,子鷹昂首微微抬頭充滿幸福感, 尾部下端施一幼年辟邪以為庇護,辟邪咧嘴呈酣厚狀,令人憐惜 ; 母鷹頭部微微後彎, 凝視著子鷹及幼辟邪, 以確信它們安全無疑。 本器之創作主題 將幼吾幼,以及人之幼( 語出自《孟子·梁惠王上》)的偉大情操流露無遺。據《後漢書》記載,漢光武帝崇尚儒學, 有沒有可能本器之創意發想於漢光武帝本人?! 此外,本器之造型意境符合光武中興,注意民生與民休息之經濟政策精神。 玉鷹左右翅膀之上各有蟠螭龍環抱, 凸顯本玉鷹硯滴之尊貴祥瑞, 非比尋常。尤其難得的是,胸前有篆體光武御製銘文,表明使用本器之主人正是漢光武帝。本器擴散暈沁色,斑晶,差異風化等古玉跡象明顯。值得一提的是,婦好墓的玉貴人一直被稱為柄形器玉貴人, 事實上, 商人自稱為玄鳥之後, 玉貴人背後的所謂柄,事實上就是玄鳥的尾巴造型,這可以從本器尾巴相同造型得到佐證。尤其重要的是,本器光武御製銘文的字體風格,  與皇宮古玉齋所收藏文鎮,以及台灣如是齋所收藏兩枚銅壺底部的光武御製銘文的字體風格完全吻合,這可以十分肯定地說,  此玉鷹硯滴係出自漢光武帝宮廷製玉坊。徵諸本器玉質潔白溫潤,器形創作意境扣人心弦,以及對漢光武帝的紀念價值,本器自當為古玉收藏大家之首選。


Inkstone drops are also known as water droplets or book drops. Inkstone drops are one of the most indispensable items in addition to the brush, ink, paper, and inkstone for the literati for two thousand years in Chinese history.  In the Han Dynasty, inkstone drops were mostly in the shape of turtles, snakes, bears, and sheep.  The Palace Museum in Beijing has kept a 7cm long, 5.6cm high, and 1.6cm in diameter simple and unsophisticated sheep-shaped pale-tone jade inkstone drops of the Han Dynasty.

With delicate relief carving from a gem-quality mutton fat white jade, the object has the form of inkstone drops, the outline of the motifs of this spectacular artwork is depicted in black color. Viewing the overall shape presentation, it is seen that a mother eagle carries her child eagle on the back, and the child eagle raises its head slightly, full of the sensation of happiness. Underneath the tail of the mother eager is a standing young pixie opening the mouth on the grin, showing pitiful appearance.  The mother eagle is slightly bent back her head, staring at the child eagle and the young pixie, to be sure that they are well cared for and undoubtedly safe.

The theme of this artwork perfectly matches the Chinese philosophy of “Care for your own aged parents and extend the same care to the aged parents of others; love your own young children and extend the same love to the children of others”( from the Mencius•Lianghui King). According to the Book of the Later Han, Emperor Guangwu himself admires Confucianism very much, is it possible that the theme of this artwork originated from Emperor Guangwu himself? In addition, the artistic conception is in line with Guangwu Zhongxing’s economic policy to pay attention to people’s livelihood and people’s rest as described in the historical records.

On the surface of the carving, it is seen that the left and right wings on both sides of the jade eagle are surrounded by the motif of dragons, furthermore highlighting the dignity and auspiciousness of this eagle shape inkstone drops.  As far as antiquity evidence is concerned, it has differential weathering, additive crystals, and diffusive markings with dark russet.

In terms of jade culture-historical significance, the design of this eagle shape drops the fork shape tail provides an explanation of this object provides an explanation to the so-called handle-shaped jade nobles from the tomb of Fuhao.  The handle is itself the tail of a mysterious bird of the Shang Dynasty as shown in this inkstone drops.

Above all, the scripts「光武御製」has provided the most important element in the authentication of this object, the font style of the Guangwu imperial inscriptions of this object is perfectly matched those of the jade paperweight from The Palace Chinese Antique Jades Collection USA and two Eastern Han containers from The Rushihai collection Taiwan.

Judging from the criteria of high quality of jade, artistic elegance, and historical significance, this is definitely a must item for connoisseur collectors.