A Bamboo Cylindrical Brush Pot of a "Scholar's Gathering in a Bamboo Grove"
Signed Wu Yan Kang Ke, (Engraved by Wu Yan Kang)
6 inches high
Carved in a continuous scene around the body in high relief with numerous scholar's at various pursuits in a bamboo grove alongside a stream with playful cranes and a backdrop of rockwork and pine, a four-character signature in low relief on one rock face.
This brushpot is carved with numerous scholars at artistic endeavors and may well be meant to depict the 'Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove' motif, a group of scholars of the Wei dynasty (220-265) who had renounced their official status and career in protest against corruption. They advocated freedom of individual beliefs which were inspired by Daoist philosophy. The seven sages, gathered amidst a bamboo grove and enjoying each other’s company, came to represent scholars disenchanted with official policies and are symbols of an incorruptible scholar. The popularity of the subject throughout Chinese history is reflected in its reproduction on a variety of media, such as porcelain, jade and paintings.
For another smaller example see Sotheby's Hong Kong, The Robert Blumenfield Collection of Chinese Bamboo Carvings, 7 April 2015, lot 3057