Dimensions: 26.7cm high
Ji Zhen Zhai Collection (Collection of Treasures of the Studio)
‘Treasures of the Chinese Scholar’, The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 14 March 1998 – 3 January 1999, no C68
‘Treasures of the Chinese Scholar Studio’, Fan Jing Pei, New York & Tokyo, 1997, fig. 104, p. 113
The scroll weight naturalistically carved from ‘zitan’ with the centre of the scroll weight hollowed out to imitate bamboo segments. The two sections inscribed with a poem by the artist Yang Shoulong 杨芳灿 with a square mark reading ‘Shou Nong Yang Shi’ 守弄杨氏”, which is attributed to the artist.
The poem is translated as follows:
‘With definite thoughts in mind, writing is expressed through the hand. A twin bamboo section can be precious as jade, joining mind and matter, so that one may write with force and authority an essay of eighteen pages. Establish this as an epitaph so that such rules will always be observed.’
Scroll weights would have been used by Chinese scholars to keep scrolls or books open, and to prevent them from rolling closed. First used in the Tang dynasty, scroll weights became even more popular as decorative objects in their own right in the Ming dynasty, not just executed in the more traditional materials like bronze, jade and precious stones, but often also executed in copper, silver and gold. This example from the height of the Qing dynasty is an excellent example of the taste for scholar’s objects executed in imitation of a different material in this period.