Yixing Purple Clay Teapot by Qing Master Chen Mingyuan （active during 1622--1735）
Based on the Carved Calligraphy on the inside of the cover, this teapot was made in 1702.
Chen Mingyuan was the most renowned potter of Yixing zisha (purple clay) teapots during the early Qing period and was equal in fame to the great master Shi Dabin of the late Ming. Although working on a traditional theme, the Three Friends of Winter, the potter, by means of his innovative ideas, produced an altogether new form. His preference for the idyllic rural subjects made his works unique. This teapot, a typical example of Chen's style, is more likely to be authentic.
has ingeniously made the body of this teapot into a portion of a block of
pine, with a horse sitting on top of the block. The detail of the gnarled bark
and needles of the pine are carefully assimilated. The handle and spout are
shaped into a bent pine branch. Interestingly, Chen made a lid with a sitting horse is a
very exceptional design of Chen's teapots. The
inscription of a poet meaning "cool breeze under a pine tree and bright
moonlight through the flowers" and signed "Mingyuan" on the teapot base is
a description of a very enjoyable scenery. The inscription inside the lid
showed when this teapot was made, which is "Ren Wu year of Kangxi" or
Mr. Cheng Mingyuan (陳鳴遠) is the most famous potting master in early days of Qing Dynasty. It was recorded in 《Yang Xian Famous potters陽羨名陶錄》by Wu Qian (吳騫) in 1786 (Yixing宜興 is call “Yang Xian陽羨 in ancient times). Wu thinks that Cheng Mingyuan’s teapot is the best over the preceding century of his time and he ranked Cheng’s teapots equal to those of another great Ming Dynasty master Shi Da Bing (時大彬). Moreover, the carved Calligraphies on the Cheng Mingyuan’s teapots which were mostly written by famous calligrapher Mr Cao Qian Rang (曹廉讓) made Cheng’s teapots even much more valuable. Since then, this modus operandi has been continued all along as many famous literates, painters, and politicians like to write their epigraph on the purple teapots so as to enhance their artistic values. Some of them even invited potters to make teapots for them which carried their calligraphies. The most famous of this type of teapots is Man Sheng pot (曼生壺)which was made under the cooperation of Cheng Man Sheng (陳曼生) and Yang Peng Nian (楊彭年);Yang Peng Nian made pot first and then epigraphs by famous calligrapher and painter Cheng Man Sheng were carved on the pot.
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