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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part V  
Bonham's, Hong Kong, 27 May 2012: Lot 77 

Lot 77


Lot 77
Treasury 2, no. 358 (‘Yongxing’s Imperial Chalcedony’)

A chalcedony snuff bottle

Chalcedony; very well hollowed, with a rounded, flat-topped lip and recessed flat circular foot surrounded by a narrow flat footrim, its inner edge sloping towards the foot; the foot incised in regular script Yi Jin zhai (Studio where the Jin [dynasty calligraphic heritage] is Preserved)
Imperial, probably palace workshops, Beijing, 1780–1823
Height: 5.4 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.6/1.2 cm
Stopper: tourmaline; turquoise collar

Illustration: watercolour by Peter Suart

Hugh Moss
Paula J. Hallett
Sotheby’s, New York, 2 December 1985, lot 79

Snuff Bottles of the Ch’ing Dynasty, p. 61, no. 44
JICSBS, Summer 1985, p. ii
JICSBS, Winter 1985, p. 15, fig. 26
Kleiner 1987, no. 142
Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 214
Kleiner 1995, no. 253
Treasury 2, no. 358

Hong Kong Museum of Art, October–December 1978
Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987
Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993
Hong Kong Museum of Art, March-June 1994
National Museum, Singapore, November 1994–February 1995
British Museum, London, June–October 1995
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997

This elegant bottle is a rare example of this form that can be attributable to an Imperial workshop, and probably to the palace workshops. It is superbly formed and painstakingly hollowed, with the lipped upper neck rim so typical of palace hardstone carving and a neatly recessed flat, circular foot surrounded by a narrow footrim. Another version, of similar form but in white nephrite, probably from the same workshop, was exhibited at the Hong Kong Museum of Art in 1978 (Snuff Bottles of the Ch’ing Dynasty, no. 155).

The hallmark on the foot of this bottle, Yi Jin Zhai, is that of Yongxing, (1752–1823), the eleventh son of the Qianlong emperor. In 1789, Yongxing became the first Prince Cheng. (See Hummel, Eminent Chinese of the Ch’ing Period, pp. 962 – 963 for a biography in English.) The name of his studio derives from the fact that the Jin dynasty (265 – 420) was considered the fountainhead of cursive- and regular-script calligraphy. As a collector and a calligrapher, Yongxing preserved that heritage in his studio.

This bottle confirms that the technical and artistic standards of the late Qianlong era continued well into the nineteenth century in many art forms.

A realgar-glass bottle bearing the Yi Jin zhai hall mark was sold in Sale 1, lot 72. Another, in crystal, is illustrated in Hall 1993, no. 28.


Easy link to this page: http://www.e-yaji.com/auction/photo.php?photo=1300&exhibition=10&ee_lang=eng


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Hugh Moss |