Lot 128 Lot 129 Lot 130 Lot 131 Lot 132 Lot 133 Lot 134

photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VI  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 27 May 2013: Lot 131 

Lot 131

Lot 131
Treasury 1, no. 105 (‘Imperial Fenghuang Vessel’)

Nephrite; with a screw-threaded inner neck; carved in the form of a squatting mythical beast supporting a fenghuang-shaped vessel, incised on one side of the upper-neck lip in clerical script Qianlong nian zhi (‘Made in the Qianlong period’)
Imperial, attributable to the palace workshops, Beijing, 1736–1799
Height: 5 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.68/1.17 and 1.15 cm (oval)
Stopper: gilt-bronze, chased with a formalized shou (‘longevity’) character, made from a converted robe-button

Emma Thompson Dodge
Christie’s, New York, 3 December 1992, lot 414

JICSBS, Winter 1992, p. 38
Kleiner 1995, no. 43
Treasury 1, no. 105

Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993
British Museum, London, June–October 1995

The imperial nature of this bottle is beyond question. Not only does it bear an entirely credible reign mark, it is absolutely typical in a number of ways of court production during the Qianlong period. The material used is not inherently valuable but it does suggest ancient pebble material, and the hollowing, while adequate, leaves a very thick base area (on both points, see discussion under lot 171 in the present sale). The form is both archaistic (taken from ancient vessels in bronze) and complex, with the addition of the beast upon which the vessel sits. The central bottle itself represents a pouring vessel with the tail of a mythical bird forming the handle and its head the spout, while its two feet and the lower handle detail would have formed a tripod stand.

The most surprising feature on this bottle is the screw-threaded neck, suggesting that it originally had a matching threaded jade stopper. The threaded stopper, as is usual in ancient China, unscrews clockwise, a feature which regularly causes Western collectors to tighten screw tops in their efforts to remove them. The screw-threaded matching nephrite stopper that this bottle must once have had is an extremely rare feature on imperial jade bottles and appears on only one other known example (JICSBS, Summer 1989, p. 15, fig. 4).


This is not the Sotheby’s sale catalogue. This is a product of Hugh Moss for the purposes of this website. For the catalogue details please refer to Sotheby’s website or request a copy of a printed sale catalogue from Sotheby’s


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Hugh Moss |