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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VI  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 27 May 2013: Lot 117 

Lot 117

Lot 117
Treasury 1, no. 18 (‘The O’Dell Luohan Jade’)

Nephrite of pebble material; very well hollowed, with a recessed foot; carved with a luohan seated on a rock and holding a jewel between his fingers, with a tiger at his feet and a bat flying overhead, his incense burner emitting a cloud of smoke in which another jewel seems to float
Height: 7.48 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.6/2.2 and 2.1 cm (one edge flattened)
Stopper: jadeite; vinyl collar

Edward Choate O’Dell
John Gilmore Ford
Hugh M. Moss Ltd (Hong Kong, 1985)

Treasury 1, no. 18

University Museum of Hong Kong, 1999/2000
Musee de la Miniature, Montelimar, 2000  

The use of the skin here is as bold as on any nephrite bottle with a carved skin. The deep colour has been matched by a design of great confidence even though the style is simple. The figure and rock are created with the bare minimum of descriptive lines, as is the outline of the tiger, although it is then covered with tiny paired lines to indicate fur, setting up a nice textural counterpoint to the figure’s robes. The entire subject is conceived as a line drawing, set on an entirely flat plane in very low relief. Despite its simplicity, however, there is considerable fluency and confidence in the execution.

There is also a powerful abstract language used in the placing of the dark relief, with the major part of the design anchored securely to the foot of the bottle, accentuating the solidity of the form and the wide foot. The smoke then creates a connection to the neck, starting as a narrow point and widening to eventually fill the flattened area of the neck, while the bat is a third element set in the paler space opened up in the upper areas of the bottle. The two-dimensional pictorial surface plane is given the illusion of much greater depth by the clever use of the fading filaments of skin as they blend into the core material.


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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