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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VIII  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 May 2014: Lot 1091 

Lot 1091
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Lot 1091
Treasury 2, no. 289 (‘The Leaping Liu Hai Chalcedony’)

Chalcedony; well hollowed; with a concave lip and recessed flat foot surrounded by a protruding broad, flat foot rim; the natural markings in the stone edited on one side to create a scene of the immortal Liu Hai leaping and holding over his head his string of cash, one end of which is in the mouth of his three-legged toad set on a rock, all beneath the midday sun
Official School, 1770–1860
Height: 6.2 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.76/2.25 and 2.22 cm (oval)
Stopper: jadeite; vinyl collar

Gerd Lester (1986)

Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 225
Treasury 2, no. 289

Hong Kong Museum of Art, March–June 1994
National Museum, Singapore, November 1994–February 1995
University Museum and Art Gallery, University of Hong Kong, 1999

Here we have another of the mid-Qing group of silhouette bottles where a thin plane of darker colour has been extensively edited to create a clear and evocative design of immense charm. The detailing of the face may link this to Sale 6, lot 181, and it is certainly part of the figural group mentioned under Sale 1, lot 49. The shape is the flattened rounded-rectangular form that was certainly a nineteenth-century standard but dates back to the eighteenth century. The hollowing here is well done, with the interior profile following the exterior shape, although the recessed, flat oval foot does not come up to the standards established during the peak of production of imperial hardstone and glass carving of the earlier Qing dynasty. The artist has gone to the trouble of making the foot flat, but the perfect flatness of the foot and the crisp, right-angled line where the flat recession meets the foot rim are absent here (see discussion under Sale 3, lot 11). There is an additional stroke of genius in the use of a small pale yellow inclusion in the darker brown plane as one eye of the toad.


The subject here is Liu Hai, a patron saint of commerce. His three-legged toad sits on a rocky bank and is enticed by Liu’s string of cash. It is one of the finest examples of this subject, which was a fairly popular one with the Official School


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.


Easy link to this page: http://www.e-yaji.com/auction/photo.php?photo=1839&exhibition=13&ee_lang=eng


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