The earliest known Yixing potter from the Ming dynasty, Gong Chun, shown seated on a bench in front of a burl-form teapot; the bench inscribed with a long inscription describing the story of Gong Chun and incorporating the artist's signature and a cyclical year bingzi (1996), the back of the bench with two artist's seal marks, 'Xiu' and 'Xiutang'
6 in. (15.2 cm.) across
Please note this lot is the property of a private individual.
The Irving Collection, no. 79Y.
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Xu Xiutang, a male artist and the foremost sculptor of Yixing, was born into a family of pottery artists in Yixing, Jiangsu province in 1937. He was awarded the artistic title of “China Arts and Crafts Master” (中國工藝美術大師) in 1993. Besides practicing pottery, Xu Xiutang has published several books on Yixing pottery including Yixing Zisha Zhenshang (Appreciating Yixing Purple Clay), Zhongguo Zisha (Chinese Purple Clay) and Xu Xiutang Zisha Taoyi Ji (Purple Clay Pottery Art by Xu Xiutang).
Gong Chun from the late Ming dynasty, early 16th century, shown in the present pottery model, is a potter regarded as the ancestral maker of Yixing teapots and the first known and documented Yixing pottery artist from the late Ming dynasty in the early 16th century. A teapot attributed to Gong Chun, widely known as the “Gong Chun Shuyin” (tree burl) teapot, is now in the collection of the National Museum of China. The miniature teapot resting on the platform in front of Gong Chun is modeled after the “Gong Chun Shuyin” teapot. Similarly designed pottery models of Gong Chun by Xu Xiutang are illustrated by Xu Xiutang himself in Zhongguo Zisha (Chinese Purple Clay), Shanghai, p. 24, and in Selected Works of Contemporary Yixing Potters, Hong Kong, 1994, p. 14, no. 1.