| Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries

Visitors' Forum

Asian Art  Forums - Detail List
Asian Art Forums

Message Listing by Date:
Message Index | Back | Post a New Message | Search | Private Mail | FAQ
Subject:Fish Brush Pot
Posted By: Stan Mon, Oct 20, 2008 IP:


I like the wooden brush pot below. It is for sale in a local shop for $185. I was wondering if anyone had an opinion as to its age or other comments. This is the only picture I have as the others came out fuzzy. One thing I did notice is that the center hole is cylindrical rather than following the outer lines. Is this an indication that it is modern? The woman tending the shop (not the owner) stated that it is "very old" and the fish is a "sign of good fortune". Do you agree? Would you pay $185 for it?

Thanks for you comments.


Subject:Re: Fish Brush Pot
Posted By: Anita Mui Mon, Oct 20, 2008

Dear Stan

It is possibly a rosewood with dark brown lacquered exterior. A dragon fish jumping on the wave to be a grown dragon with a little Chulong on its back. It's a 20th brush pot, the craftmanship is "fine". I'll buy it for USD -150.

Have fun
Anita Mui

Subject:Re: Fish Brush Pot
Posted By: Stan Mon, Oct 27, 2008


Thank you for the information. If it is still there when I get a chance to get to the shop, I think I'll buy it. I do like it. I hoped it was old but I agree that the workmanship is above average. I've looked around at some auction sites and 20th century brushpots run about $200 for a starting bid. The ones I saw are not nearly as nice as this one.

Thanks again,

Subject:Re: Fish Brush Pot
Posted By: Stan Mon, Nov 17, 2008


I was in the area for my annual physical and bought the Dragon Fish brush pot. It has a second dragon fish on the other side. There are some drying cracks but it is pretty nice.

I negotiated a price of $165. The owner is in China buying more stuff and I had to deal with an underling.

Here are a few more pictures.


Subject:Re: Fish Brush Pot
Posted By: Stan Mon, Nov 17, 2008

I stated that the hole was cylindrical. That is not quite correct. It is cylindrical at the bottom but the top has been carved to follow line of the dragon fish's maw.

There is a hole (rot?) that is a defect in the heart of the wood.


Subject:Re: Fish Brush Pot
Posted By: gman Tue, Nov 18, 2008

Hi Stan,

That hole on the inside may be the entrance/exit hole of some type of worm, or beetle larvae.

There are some larvae which can live in a piece of wood for years. Back in the day when I sold antiques, I was working in my repair shop when I kept hearing a sound which was like someone scratching their fingernail on sandpaper.
I began wondering where the sound came from, so I started looking around and zeroed in on a carving which came in a container from Portugal.

It was the type of carving made from a treebranch which had the form of a standing man.
The branch was very heavy for its size, and I could clearly hear the scratching coming from within. There was one visible hole which looked similar to the one in your carving, but did not look recent.

Since we imported from around the world, we tried to be cognizant of bringing unwanted pests into the country, and in fact had most of our shipments fumigated after they were loaded, especially from South America.

The usual indicator of pests such as most wood beetles and termites was lots of small holes, leaking bug-dust either powdery or granular, and a noticeable hollowness.

The piece from Portugal was an anomaly since it displayed none of these characteristics. After a few more days of listening to the annoying scratching sound, I drilled a hole where I could hear the sound, and sure enough, there was a beetle grub the size of my index finger, which I pulled out with a pair of needle-nose pliers.
I remember thinking it odd that there was no dust coming from the hole. The scratching sound was the grub chewing his way through the branch.

After giving him a new home in a jar of turpentine, I thought the problem was solved when the next day, I heard more scratching from a different spot, repeated the removal process, and reunited the second grub with the first.
Again, no dust from the hole.

Since I heard more scratching, and the carving was nothing special, I sawed it in half lengthways and was surprised to find three more grubs, and the solution to the lack of dust.

Each grub as it ate its way down the length of the branch would deposit its excrement behind it, and the excrement was like bondo and harder than the wood. The part of the hole which was hollow, had a ribbed appearance.

Each grub was in its own separate world, and when they got to within two inches or so of the end of the branch, they would turn 180 degrees and start eating in the opposite direction.

To be safe I eventually burned the remains of the branch in my fireplace.

If you start to hear a scratching noise you can't figure out, you'll know where to look first.


Subject:Re: Fish Brush Pot
Posted By: Stan Wed, Nov 19, 2008


Great (icky) story! There seems to be no infestation.

The wood is a nice dense wood with real heft. Like Anita, I think it is probably rosewood. I have to clean it up a little. I looks like it has a century of dust on it.

Stan | Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries |