A Yixing Stoneware Slip-decorated Brush Pot
Signed Yang Jichu but perhaps by the workshop
6 1/2 inches high, 7 1/2 inches diam.
Of broad cylindrical form, the exterior of the heavily potted beige-brown body decorated in broad strokes in a darker coffee-brown slip with a continuous vast lake-landscape scene, portraying a figure seated in a small hut set on a promontory on a mountainous island with tall rounded peaks and a variety of trees and straw-roofed buildings, all set against a seemingly boundless lake dotted with a few sails, small islands, fishermen in boats, hills and peaks dot the horizon, the entire body with a fine network of 'baked-earth' crackle, the top edge gently rounded and forming a short rim to the interior, the base with a wide flat circular foot countersunk in the middle and centered by an impressed with a three-character zhuanshu mark within a rounded square seal reading Yang Jichu .
Other brush pots with related compositions and similar Yang Jichu seal marks are recorded although the slip decoration is most often 'multi-colored' unlike the monochromatic slip of our example. For an example in the Palace Museum, Beijing, see The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Purple Sandy Ware, Hong Kong, 2008, p.145, pl.115 (fig.1). However, the slip decoration is applied in a more idiosyncratic 'folksy' and 'painterly' style, suggesting that our example might be before the artists (or studio's) mature phase.
Other 'multi-color' brush pots by Yang Jichu have appeared intermittently at auction and have been highly sought after. For these examples see, Bonhams, Hong Kong, 28 November 2011, lot 208, from the Mr. and Mrs. Gerard Hawthorn Collection and another in the same rooms from the Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy Sha Collection, 27 May 2012, lot 548
Yang Jichu is renowned for his outstanding craftsmanship on Yixing stoneware brushpots, particularly slip-decorated ones, created in the Yongzheng and Qianlong reigns (1723-95). In chongkan jingxi xianzhi, or The Republished Jingxi Gazetteer, complied by Tang Zhongmian during the Qing dynasty, Yang Jichu was recorded as being active at the same time as the Yixing master Chen Hanwen, who is said to be the brother of Chen Mingyuan (Tang, 1793).