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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part IV  
Bonham's, Hong Kong, 28 November 2011: Lot 95 

Lot 95

 
 

Lot 95
Treasury 2, no. 266 (‘The Sage and Incense Agate’)
HK$47,500

A dendritic agate snuff bottle

Dendritic agate; very well hollowed, with a concave lip and recessed, slightly convex foot surrounded by a protruding rounded footrim with a flattened edge
Official School, 1740–1850
Height: 5.71 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.7/1.83 and 1.78 cm (oval)
Stopper: tourmaline; vinyl collar

Provenance:
Hugh Moss (1985)

Published:
Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 221
Treasury 2, no. 266

Exhibited:
Hugh M. Moss Ltd, London, September 1974
Hong Kong Museum of Art, March–June 1994
National Museum, Singapore, November 1994–February 1995

The fern-like markings of the jagged dark area running into the neck on one side allow for the dendritic appellation, and the faint but clear concentric banding that runs through the orange areas beneath would qualify this material as agate. Whatever the material, it is one of the most compelling of unedited ink-play hardstone bottles known, and in Treasury 2 we offer an extended meditation on the images one might see in the marking of this bottle.

The exceptional formal sensibility of the artist who made this bottle is revealed in the narrow-side view. The neck is waisted slightly from this view to balance the opposite curve of the bulging body, whereas from the main-side view, where distraction from the subject matter is not wanted, it has been left almost straight. It is an extraordinarily subtle touch, and it speaks highly of the snuff bottle as an art-form reflecting the most esoteric aesthetic of the Chinese that this commitment to every aspect of the work of art is so frequently evident in a number of ways. It is also worth considering whether the slightly oval neck of a number of bottles of this general shape might be a school-specific style, even if not exclusively. The difference between the measurement from the main view and that from the side view is usually so slight that one can only perceive its ovalness with callipers, and yet it somehow, paradoxically, makes a visual difference.

 

Easy link to this page: http://www.e-yaji.com/auction/photo.php?photo=1102&exhibition=9&ee_lang=eng


  
  

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Hugh Moss |