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Yeh Chung-san / Ye Zhong san Family History

Question: xaeZpAGuIDwTHCi

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Author Topic: Yeh Chung-san / Ye Zhong san Family History  (Read 2670 times)
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« on: July 24, 2011, 04:05:49 am »

This is from Bob Stevens, "The Collector's Book Of Snuff Bottles." Although from his book, I tried not to copy verbatim, and did not include the chapters portion in it's entirety. Using just the highlights related to each generation's history.  Wink

Bob book shows a spelling of Yeh Chung-san, yet I usually see it written as Yeh Zhong-san.. 

Yeh Chung-san ( Ye Zhong-san ) is likely the most prolific of all artists. Bottles can be found in abundance. His work even as a follower of Chou Lo-yuan has its own style and in most cases is easily distinguishable from Chou Lo-yuan. His sons were taught by Yeh himself and became experts themselves, but continued to sign their fathers name as well as those of other artists. It was common practice in the family that the sons sign their fathers name while he was alive. Not until he passes in 1945 did his sons begin to use their own names more often. There are examples of bottles dated well into the 1950's that bear the Yeh Chung-san name. It is a matter for debate if the practice of signing his name was meant to deceive intentionally. To add to the confusion is the size of the Yeh family and its generations of artists who have painted.

P'eng-ch'i, a son of Yeh Chung-san maintains that his grandfather, Yeh Mao-hsein founded a school of inside painting. Supposedly Yeh Mao-hsien signed his work with the art name Tzu I tzu. There are publications that say this is a mistaken assumption based on misinformation from Peking. Tzu I-tzu was in fact, Tzu I-tzy. An extremely talented artist of the Peking school whose work is rare. He was in fact not connected to the Yeh family except by mistaken references. One writer states that Yeh Chung-san was a member in the fourth generation of the Yeh family earning a living by painting. If correct, it would mean this art medium extended far beyond the beginning of the nineteenth century. Maybe even as early as the second quarter of the eighteenth century. No examples are known to fit this early date.
Some things to consider..

Yeh Shan-i was suppose to have lived in the Ch'ien-lung era. Said to have painted as a hobby. Yeh Mao-hsien is said to have been the son of Yeh Shan-i. Suppose to have lived from the first part of the nineteenth century until early T'ung-chih era (1862-73). He is said to have also painted as a hobby. But until bottles by Yeh shan-i and Yeh Mao-hsien are discovered, it is best to discount the possibility of their having painted.
Yeh Chung-san, son of Yeh Mao-hsien and the grandson of Yeh Shan-i was born about 1868. Apparently he was taught by his father, Yeh Mao-hsien. Yeh Chung-san died in 1945. If these dates are correct, then it means that Yeh Chung-san's training would have to have started early in his childhood. Because the reference to his father's death in early T'ung-chih indicates that he had little time to learn from his father.

Yeh P'eng-chen was a son of Yeh Chung-san. Said to have died in 1929 at the age of 33. Taught by his father. His art name was Yeh Hsiao-san. Yeh Hsiao-feng, another son of Yeh Chung-san died about 1969. He too was taught by his father, and art name was Yeh P'eng-hsi.

Yeh P'eng-ch'i was the last surviving son of Yeh Chung-san. Born 1908, and died April 1975. He was taught by his father. He and his elder brother Yeh Hsiao-feng are considered to the the founders of the Modern Peking school of inside painting. Established under the auspices of the Peking Arts and Crafts Corp. Yeh P'eng-ch'i clained to be the fifth generation to follow this craft. His art name was Yeh Hsiao-san.

Yeh Shu-ying is the daughter of Yeh P'eng-ch'i and the grandaughter of Yeh Chung-san. Presently a painter at the Peking Arts and Crafts Corp, having been a puple of her father. She uses her own name in signing her work as well as an art name, Hsieh Tui-ying. Sixth generation of inside painters in the Yeh family and may qualify as being the first woman to work this medium. In spite of all that has been reported aboutYeh Chung-san I and Yeh Chung-san II (and even III and IV, if one considers the sons who continued to sign their father's name laong after his death in 1945), telling the differences of the various Yehs becomes staggeringly difficult to make. The demand for Yeh Chung-san bottles was such that probably all three or four members of the family painted bottles. When the demand slackened, the painters ceased work in order of age. When the demand was light, only the father would paint. At times when work was light, Yeh P'eng-ch'i turned his attention to experiments with enameled glass.
"Now is the time to judge Yeh Chung-san bottles on the basis of their individual merits, without worrying any longer about which one of the many Yehs did the work, or who signed whose name to what, or why."   
« Last Edit: January 19, 2013, 09:43:58 pm by Bottle Guy » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2011, 11:50:38 pm »

An interesting side note here is that a true Ye 'look' and 'of correct age' bottle that is dated prior to 1915 is either a very good copy by another artist of that time OR by the master himself, because the sons did not start painting until the mid to late teens.  Even the oldest one of the sons did not start painting until 1915-1916.  After that it becomes a crap shoot to determine who the real "Ye" painter was until YZS's death.

There are several bottles signed from YZS that are only signed Zong Shan, prior to the family Ye becoming entrenched.  I have one of those bottles dated 1914 in my collection that is from a very heavy smokey crystal, reflecting monks but showing truly its age AND the fact that brown crystal was very hard to hollow out, so it is very rough. In any case much harder composition than clear rock crystal.  George, maybe you can shed some light on the differences in smoky and clear crystal?

Final mystery in the Ye collection and family is that Chen Zhong San (not a family member and not of same class, but still good painter) apparently also signed some bottles YZS AND ZS...
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« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2011, 12:44:30 am »

Bob Stevens writes the name out as Yeh Chungsan in his book, and yet I mostly see it as Ye Zhongsan every place else.

Here is a link that describes the differences between the colored Quartz.

« Last Edit: August 29, 2011, 01:06:45 pm by Bottle Guy » Report Spam   Logged

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