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Chinese porcelain brush pot (bitong) decorated with a scene from Journey to the West, Guangxu.
Stock Number: 4852
Rare and fine Chinese porcelain brush pot of wasted cylindrical form decorated in underglaze cobalt blue (qinghua) with a scene from Journey to the West, c. 1880, Guangxu reign, Qing dynasty, h. 12 cm, 4¾ in. 1-16240 Bespoke box.
Provenance: Bernheimer Antique Arts, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1964.
Illustrated: Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, by A. Varela Santos, 2018/2019, cat. 42.
◆ Journey to the West, by Wu Cheng’en, is a fictional narrative about the historical Buddhist monk Xuanzang, also known as Tang Sanzang or Tang Seng, courtesy name reflecting his status as an oath brother of the Tang dynasty’s emperor Taizong.
The title Sanzang was given due to his mission to seek the Sanzangjin, The Three Collections of Scriptures for which he renounced his family. In reality, he is the reincarnation of the Golden Cicada, a disciple of Buddha.
Xuanzang two initial companions were killed during his first encounter with demons but the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara helps him to find three powerful supernatural beings named Sun Wukong, Zhu Balie and Sha Wujing to protect him during his journey. The three became his disciples and received enlightenment and redemption for their past sins at the end of the pilgrimage.
At the end of the novel Xuanzang is appointed Buddha of the Sandalwood Merit.
The inscription reads: Pan Si Dong (Cave of the Silken Webb).
◆ 西遊記是吳承恩所作一部神話小說。小說主人公之一為唐代高僧玄奘，又名唐三藏，俗稱唐僧。他的姓反映了他的身份-唐太宗的結拜兄弟。之所以取名為“三藏”是因為他奉命去尋找三藏經。 正是這三部佛典，使他離開了家，背井離鄉。小說中玄奘乃佛祖弟子羅漢金蟬子轉世。