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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part IX  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 24 November 2014: Lot 52 

Lot 52

Lot 52
Treasury 2, no. 218 (‘The Cream of Caramel Agates ‘)

Agate; well hollowed, with a slightly concave lip and a concave oval foot surrounded by a narrow foot rim
Height: 4.31 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.57/1.40 and 1.38 cm (oval)
Stopper: coral, carved with a chi 螭 dragon (probably originally half a bead); turquoise collar

Hugh M. Moss Ltd (1995)

Treasury 2, no. 218

Sale 1, lot 41 is ovoid, but the shorter flared neck gives the impression that it is circular in profile, whereas the longer flared neck on this example stretches the eye upwards and gives the impression that it is ovoid, whereas it is in fact circular.

Another major formal shift is hinted at by the detailing of the narrow sides. In Sale 1, lot 41 the sphere is evenly compressed, leaving what appears to be an entirely natural bulging shape at the narrow sides, whereas here the narrow sides are artificially sharpened to a greater extent. Taken to its conclusion, this formal shift would end up like a coconut-shell bottle, where two dished segments are joined, leaving a sharp edge all the way round. Here it is not so pronounced, but the slight sharpening has made a noticeable difference.

At first glance this appears to be chalcedony, well hollowed enough to reveal areas of the typical rippling effect of sunlight on a sandy sea-bed and of a fairly even colour. Closer examination, however, reveals subtle striations that allow the designation ‘agate’.


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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