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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VIII  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 May 2014: Lot 1014 

Lot 1014
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Lot 1014
Treasury 1, no. 184 (‘The Icy-Rain Chloromelanite’)
HK$200,000

Jadeite; well hollowed; with a very slightly concave lip and recessed foot
1780–1900
Height: 6.16 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.41/1.88 and 1.7 cm (oval)
Stopper: coral, carved with a bird on a flowering branch; gilt-bronze collar

Provenance:
Drouot (Millon-Jutheau), Paris, 2 July 1984, lot 135

Published:
Treasury 1, no. 184

The form, degree of hollowing, and small mouth all link it to the group of nephrite bottles discussed under Sale 3, lot 82, and in turn to a group of other plain stone bottles that share these characteristics. This broad group certainly pre-dates the 1880s. It almost certainly evolved at least a century earlier, and probably during the mid- to late-Qianlong period, although it may have remained popular well into the nineteenth century. There are only two possible conclusions: either these bottles are earlier than the 1880s, or the form was still being made at this late date and still being very well hollowed, even in jadeite, a material that was usually not well hollowed from the later Qing period. The former is probably more likely, although the almost certain manufacture of crystal bottles of exactly this type for the inside-painted artists of the Beijing school between the 1880s and the 1930s does demonstrate that the skills still existed to both form and hollow such bottles at the later date.

The material is a rare form of jadeite that is always spectacular and usually left undecorated because of the inherent excitement of the stone. The colour is an intense, opaque emerald-green, varying in broad, diagonal bands with inclusions in places of darker, almost black veining. Set on the opposite diagonal is a series of much paler narrow green veins that appear almost white in places. Apart from the abstract visual excitement set up by these properties in this particular example, the surfaces can also be read as a powerful seascape in a storm, the turbulent waves streaked with driving rain.

The bottle is carved with excellent formal integrity, and the interior is as well hollowed as the rest of the group—and through a characteristically tiny mouth, a more arduous task with jadeite than with nephrite because of the additional hardness of 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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