Lot 15 Lot 15 Lot 15 Lot 15 Lot 15 Lot 15 Lot 150

photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part V  
Bonham's, Hong Kong, 27 May 2012: Lot 15 

Lot 15


Lot 15
Treasury 5, no. 1025 (‘Symbolic Game’)

An inscribed cinnabar-red glass overlay 'auspicious objects' snuff bottle

Opaque, variegated, dark cinnabar-red and brown glass on translucent white glass; with a flat lip and recessed convex foot surrounded by a protruding flattened footrim; carved as a single overlay, with some carving in the ground colour, with a series of auspicious objects, one main side with a blossoming miniature prunus tree set with a rock in a rectangular planter on a four-legged stand, a jue (libation cup), flowering chrysanthemums set in a crackle-glazed vase of bee-hive shape, a small pouring vessel with a spray of lotus in it, and a drinking cup, the scene inscribed in relief seal script with the title ‘Eight Thousand Springs and Autumns’, the other main side with a brush-pot holding a fan, a fly-whisk, three brushes, and a gnarled root ruyi sceptre, a water-pot with a small ladle, a weiqi board with nine dark pieces and seven light pieces already played, two boxes for holding the weiqi pieces, a group of three scrolls tied in a bundle, a set of books, and a ding (tripod vessel), the scene inscribed in relief seal script, Ziwan (‘For personal enjoyment’)
Yangzhou, 1830-1890
Height: 5.69 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.60/1.49 cm
Stopper: glass, carved with a formalized shou (‘longevity’) character surrounded by pendant formalized lotus petals, with integral collar

Hugh Moss (1980)
Belfort Collection (1986)

Arts of Asia, July-August 1972, p. 16
Snuff Bottles of the Ch’ing Dynasty, pp. 127 and 139, no. 243
Jutheau 1980,p.66, figs. 1 and 2
Kleiner 1987, no. 127
Treasury 5, no. 1025

Hong Kong Museum of Art, October-December 1978
L’Arcade Chaumet, Paris, June 1982
Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987
Creditanstalt, Vienna, May-June 1993

Among the Yangzhou-school overlay snuff bottles that incorporate additional detail in the ground carving, this example represents the highest standard, one that is simply unsurpassed. Not only is it superbly composed and carved, but the balance between contrasting relief and carving in the ground colour is impeccably achieved. The white blooms of three of the chrysanthemum flowers and the hairs of the fly-whisk work brilliantly, despite being similarly placed at the edges of the composition. If we imagine the crackled vase on one side, and the brush-pot, scrolls, and weiqi board on the reverse in coloured relief, these fringe details would fall out of balance, but as it is they serve as perfect emphases to the broader areas of relief carving in white. As we might expect, the footrim is as impeccably carved as any from the height of Imperial carving from the Qianlong era, constituting yet another exception for this school, and while the ground plane is unusually well finished and evenly polished, there is a hint of undulation, as there is on any Yangzhou school bottle, however good it may be.


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Lot 15 Lot 15 Lot 15 Lot 15 Lot 15 Lot 15 Lot 150


Hugh Moss |