Lot 130 Lot 130 Lot 130 Lot 130 Lot 130 Lot 130 Lot 130

photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part III  
Bonham's, Hong Kong, 25 May 2011: Lot 130 

Lot 130


Lot 130
Treasury 6, no. 1272

A blue and white porcelain ‘dragon’ snuff bottle

(‘Wrapped Rug’)

Colourless glaze on cobalt on porcelain; with a convex lip and slightly concave foot; painted under the glaze with a continuous design of an imperial five clawed dragon in pursuit of a flaming pearl set against a ground of formalized, interlocking swastika (wan symbol) design above another dragon rising from formalized waves; the neck with a band of formalized lingzhi; the unglazed foot carved with a series of concentric circles; the lip, inner neck, and interior glazed
Imperial kilns, Jingdezhen, 1790–1830
Height: 7.6 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.54/1.22 cm
Stopper: lapis lazuli; plastic collar

Lot 130 Provenance:
Robert Kleiner (1996)

Treasury 6, no. 1272

Lot 130 Commentary
The entire ground on this rare variation on a pillar bottle (see under Sale 1, lot 134 and Treasury 6, nos. 1269–1271) is made up of a pattern of interlocking fylfots, or swastikas (the wan symbols whose name is homophonous with the word for ten-thousand). This is one of the commoner ground patterns on Qing carpets, and again illustrates the original inspiration for this series of bottles. The design here is unusual for a pillar bottle, however, in having a second dragon rising from waves at the base of the cylinder. It also has a narrow neck typical of the mass of nineteenth-century uncompressed forms, rather than the widely flared, broad, flat lip of the standard pattern, and yet it is combined with the typical biscuit foot engraved with concentric circles, which is very rarely found on standard cylindrical bottles of the late Qing dynasty. The dragon exemplifies all the power of the group as a whole, although its force is somewhat damped by the busy ground and more complex design, with its waves and additional beast.

Regrettably, none of these pillar bottles has a reign mark, in itself an unusual feature for mid-Qing porcelain bottles of so large and obviously imperial a group. Currently the only independent early evidence of their existence is that William Bragge had one in his collection, described in his Bibliotheca Nicotiana (see under Sale 1, lot 134). Bragge’s bottle was one of the rare white ones with only the dragon’s eyes in underglaze blue. Presumably the blue-and-white versions were the earliest made, but whatever the evolution of the group, Bragge clearly had an example bought in Europe prior to 1876.


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Hugh Moss |