烟壶随笔 | Snuff Bottle Blog
烟壶随笔 | Snuff Bottle Blog
When an agate bottle reaches the hand of a snuff bottle inside painter, it might had already went through a series of transformation. From its raw state, the lapidaries must be able to foresee the hidden treasure within the stone. He will use his expertise to transform the raw material into a snuff bottle with unique attributes. A cut at a wrong angle might just destroy the beauty of the stone forever. “You will need to talk to the Stone”, they will tell you.
Let us now take a look at the transformation of a “Jade Belt” Agate bottle in the hand of Master Zhang Yong (張勇). A inside painter based in HengSui.
These are the pictures showing the natural beauty of the “Jade Belt” Agate bottle before painting. The deep orange semi-circular patch looks a beautiful sunrise or sunset scene before any enhancement. The “jade belt” and the white misty inclusion looks like clouds or mist over a mountain range.
In the hands of an inside painter, the second stage of transformation begins.
First, Master Zhang Yong conceptualized the overall theme for the bottle. He saw the possibility of painting his favor patriotic General – Yue Fei (岳飞). He also plan to include some calligraphy works into the bottle. This bottle is a perfect canvas for such a painting with its original sunset like scenery and wide surface to execute the calligraphy works.
Master Zhang then began to prepare the background colors for his subject. He enhanced the coloration around the semi-circular inclusion to depict a sunset scene. He then worked on the foreground and painted a hill covered with shrubs and vegetation. The valley was also given a faint coat of red that conveyed the beautiful, yet lonely sunset seen by the General at the frontline.
The other side of the bottle was treated with the same procedure. This time, a scenery of a cold morning with the sun just raising above the horizon was the main subject.
Finally, the lonely General on his horse back, carrying his formidable spear was drawn facing the setting sun. On the other side of the bottle, the silhouette of Yue Fei leading his army at sunrise was drawn. Master Zhang also displayed his calligraphy skill on both side of the bottle. The side of the lone hero had his most famous poetry “The River of Red” (满江红) written across. The other side of the bottle has another poetry by the general “The mountains in front” ( 小重山) span across the width of the bottle.
Master Zhang Yong cleverly integrated the beautiful natural features within the agate bottle into the composition of his painting. The orange semi-circle became the setting sun. The “Jade Belt” was integrated to be the clouds between the General and the setting sun and the cold morning mist on the other side of the bottle. The overall drawing is harmonious and pleasing, displaying the beauty of Mother Nature alongside with the unique art form of Chinese’s inside painting and calligraphy.
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