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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VII  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 November 2013: Lot 35 

Lot 35

Lot 35
Treasury 2, no. 227 (‘The Plum Puddingstone’)
HK$225,000

Quartz conglomerate (puddingstone); reasonably well hollowed, with a concave lip and flat foot
1740–1880
Height: 5.39 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.60/1.72 cm
Stopper: coral; turquoise collar

Provenance:
Wing Hing (Hong Kong, 1991)

Published:
Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 245
Treasury 2, no.227

Exhibited:
Hong Kong Museum of Art, March–June 1994
National Museum, Singapore, November 1994–February 1995

This bottle is reasonably but not extensively well hollowed, as is common with many opaque materials. As there was ample space for snuff, there was little point in making opaque materials paper-thin, since one could not see the difference between just adequate and extensive hollowing and there were two very good reasons for not doing so. One was a loss of colour in precious materials with transparent or translucent surfaces; the other was fragility. The more a bottle is hollowed, the thinner the walls become and the more delicate it is and the more likely to be broken, cracked or bruised easily. The fact that this puddingstone appears to be made up of two different types of quartz mixed together may have suggested fragility and prompted thicker-walled hollowing, since with so opaque a material there was nothing to be gained by retaining thick walls to enhance colour. It is certainly a standard feature that puddingstone bottles are not extensively hollowed. Otherwise, the detailing is excellent at the lip, and the formal integrity finely achieved. Such care would be commensurate with imperial work, but nothing about the bottle can be said to be exclusive to the imperial workshops.

 

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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