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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VII  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 November 2013: Lot 98 

Lot 98

Lot 98
Treasury 3, no. 429 (‘Bob’s Abundance’)

Coral; reasonably well hollowed, with a flat lip and deep, reticulated footrim made up of elements of the design; carved with a continuous scene of five squirrels in the branches of a fruiting grape-vine growing from a rocky ground, the base with openwork carving
Height: 6.4 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.56/1.70 and 1.61 cm. (oval)
Stopper: coral; gold collar

Bob C. Stevens
Sotheby’s, Honolulu, 7 November 1981, lot 149
Belfort Collection (1986)

Chinese Snuff Bottles 4, p. 37, Pl. D
Stevens 1976, no. 1019
Hong Kong 1977,no. 255
Chinese Snuff Bottles and Dishes 1978, no. 235
Très précieuses tabatières chinoises, p. 16, no. 223
Arts of Asia, January–February 1982, p. 63
Arts of Asia, September–October 1982, p. 150
Snuff Bottle Review, March 1983, p. 13
Kleiner 1987, no. 183
The Illustrated London News, Summer 1990, p. 48
The Orient Express Magazine, Summer 1990, p. 48
Prestige, Summer 1990, p. 48
Arts of Asia, September–October 1990, p. 95
Kleine Schätze aus China, cover and p. 8
Neue Kronenzeitung, Vienna, 5 May 1993, p. 22
Die Presse, Schaufenster, Vienna, 30 April–6 May 1993, p. 7
Wiener Zeitung, 8 May 1993, p.8
CA Live, Die Mitarbeiterzeitung der Creditanstalt, Nr. 3, 1993, p. 11
Kleiner 1995, no. 305
Treasury 3, no. 429

Hong Kong Museum of Art, October–November 1977
Mikimoto Hall, Tokyo, October 1978
L’Arcade Chaumet, Paris, June 1982
Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987
Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993
British Museum, London, June–October 1995
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997
Musee de la Miniature, Montelimar, 2000

Apart from being the world’s most published and exhibited coral snuff bottle, this is also unique in the unusually deep, pierced foot, which allows the impression that a plain bottle is cased in an elaborately carved frame. Other than this unusual detail, however, the bottle fits comfortably into the large group outlined under Sale 4, lot 6.

Lot 124 in the Claar Sale (Parke-Bernet Galleries Inc., New York, 2 December 1969) appears to be from the same workshop, also with squirrels but of a different design and without the unusual reticulated foot; another related bottle similar in subject to the Claar example is no. 16 in Curtis 1982.

This exceptional coral was one of Bob Stevens’ favourites, but he had a weakness for coral in general and owned quite a few of them. Mind you, to put that in perspective, he owned quite a few of most types. When writing the Bloch catalogue, we deemed it only proper to name the bottle after this much-missed giant of the snuff-bottle world.


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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