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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VIII  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 May 2014: Lot 1063 

Lot 1063
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Lot 1063
Treasury 1, no. 180 (‘The Emerald-Contemplation Jadeite’)
HK$600,000

Jadeite; extremely well hollowed; with a concave foot surrounded by a narrow flat footrim
1780–1880
Height: 4.52 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.55/1.8 and 1.76 cm (oval)
Stopper: jadeite; vinyl collar

Provenance:
Lydia Tovey
Sotheby’s, London, 24 and 28 April 1987, lot 685

Published:
Treasury 1, no. 180

Although of smaller size than the majority of the group, this bottle fits into the broad category of plain jade snuff bottles of which Sale 1, lot 17; Sale 1, lot 59; Sale 2, lot 127; Sale 3, lot 23; and Sale 3, lot 32 are among other examples in the collection. Links to many of the other bottles in this group are provided by the compressed spherical form, perfect formal integrity, exceptional hollowing, and a concave oval foot surrounded by a flat foot rim. The smaller size of this bottle may have been dictated by the available material, or it may be an indication that it is a later example of the group, perhaps from the first half of the nineteenth century. It could also be simply a reflection of the personal taste of the carver or the patron.

The matching stopper is not original (the Blochs selected it to replace the one with which it was found, and it is more oval than the neck), but it is one of the most remarkable matches we have ever seen, the two pieces of material appearing identical in colour and markings. They seem to have been made for each other. Matching jade stoppers to jade bottles is difficult and rarely turns out well.

By gem standards, the colour of the stone here is pale but unusually even and very attractive. Like most larger pieces of jadeite, it is flawed, but in this case the flaws become magically positive in creating the sort of natural and evocative markings found in some chalcedony or agate bottles. It has an extraordinary magical quality practically never found in the 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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