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Subject:Chinese Plaque
Posted By: Norman Wed, Apr 13, 2022 IP: 2600:1700:d710:9750:

Hello, I purchased this bone/ivory (at least it does not fluoresce under UV) plaque in Singapore in 2005. I fully expect it to be 'not of the period, etc.', but I've always been curious on what it said on the back. I believe I was told it was originally one of a set of four, but the other three, if they still exist, are scattered to the four winds. Note the circular remnant of the dealer sticker removed over 15 years ago--oh well. Any translation help would be much appreciated. Regards, Norman

Subject:Re: Chinese Plaque
Posted By: Pat Thu, Apr 14, 2022

The writing in Chinese are the followings:

金阙晓钟开万户 玉阶仙仗拥千官
The seal also reads as 岑参

These are the two rows of a poem written by a famous Tang Dynasty Poet Cen Shen (岑参). The complete poem has 8 rows.

The translation for the above Chinese is

"The dawn bell in the palace rang, thousands of household doors were opened, and the guards of honor of the emperor were arranged on both sides of the jade steps, encircling hundreds of officials into the court hall.

By Sen Shen"

If as you said that the plaque has a set of four, is it possible that each plaque has 2 different rows from the same poem to complete the poem?

Subject:Re: Chinese Plaque
Posted By: Steve Gridley Thu, Apr 14, 2022

Your plaque looks to have similar aging as my Okimono Monkey Group on Ivory I posted last September which I date to the late 1800s. You should still be able to see the Schreger lines if it is ivory. Sorry I can’t help with a translation.

Subject:Re: Chinese Plaque
Posted By: Mark Adams Thu, Apr 14, 2022

It is bone not ivory. The grain is straight and not criss-crossed (schregner lines).
Also you will notice black pot holes. This is typical calcium deposits only found in bone.
I am unable to decipher the calligraphy. Hopefully someone else will assist you.
[email protected]

Subject:Re: Chinese Plaque
Posted By: I,Nagy Thu, Apr 14, 2022

The daybreak bells rang in the imperial palace, thousand of doors were opened together
The jade steps were crowded with thousands of officials
Cen Shen
岑參 - Cen Shen

Citation from a poem by the Chinese Tang Dynasty poet Cen Shen (or Cen Can) 岑參 715-770

With regards,

Subject:Re: Chinese Plaque
Posted By: Norman Fri, Apr 15, 2022

Thanks all. I managed to find the complete poem which is indeed 8 lines. Apparently the title is 'An Early Audience at the Palace of Light Harmonizing Secretary Jia Zhi's Poem' The link is below.
Not surprised it is bone rather than ivory. Just glad the script did not read 'Made for gwailous with more money than sense.' :) Regards, Norman

URL Title :An Early Audience at the Palace of Light Harmonizing Secretary Jia Zhi's Poem | Associations | Articles | Exhibitions | Galleries |