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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VIII  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 May 2014: Lot 1057 

Lot 1057
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Lot 1057
Treasury 7, no. 1550 (‘Well-Fed Official’)
HK$75,000

Ivory; of vase form with a flat lip and recessed flat foot surrounded by a thin, protruding convex foot rim
1750–1880
Height: 4.41 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.61/2.51 cm
Stopper: ivory; ivory finial; original

Provenance:
J & J Collection
Christie’s, New York, 30 March 2005, lot 59
Hugh Moss (HK) Ltd (2005)

Published:
Treasury 7, no. 1550

Although larger, this unusual form fits comfortably into the group of miniature bottles of Sale 4, lots 84, 135, and 156, being a plain ivory bottle of vase form, with its matching original stopper carved in the shape of an ‘official’s hat’. However, the stopper does not have a screw thread. This is perhaps unlikely to be as early as the three miniature examples, but it could have been courtly and made during the mid-Qing.

As an old, undecorated ivory bottle, it also fits in with Sale 2, lot 81 and Sale 4, lot 157 as part of a broader group. One main difference is that it may have been turned on a lathe. The thin and perfectly even foot rim suggests this, and the form is ideal for the lathe.

The Blochs have always liked plain ivory snuff bottles; with original stoppers, they proved irresistible. This helps to explain why a disproportionate number of surviving ivory bottles with their original stoppers have ended up in a single collection. Although it would be possible to find a suitable stopper for this bottle if the original were missing, there is something rather magnificent about a vase form with its original stopper. Added to this is the charm of ivory’s patination. Freshly cut ivory, with its even, shiny white surface, is nothing to the richly patinated material after a century of handling and use, as is evident from the plain ivory bottles in this collection.

 

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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