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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part IX  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 24 November 2014: Lot 4 

Lot 4

Lot 4
Treasury 6, no. 1376 (‘Absent Scholar’)

Colourless glaze on cobalt on porcelain; the hexagonal form with a slightly flared mouth, convex lip and recessed flat, slightly convex foot, surrounded by a convex foot rim; painted under the glaze with a continuous waterside scene comprising mostly a foreground spit of land with two rocks and two bare trees, a simple bridge with one support leading from this spit diagonally up to the left and connecting vaguely on a corner of the bottle to a cluster of six rocks from which four bare trees grow, and lines curling out horizontally from the leftmost of the six rocks to rise, curl, and tangle to the top of the neck, suggesting at various stages clouds, paths, and watercourses; the lip, inner neck, and foot glazed; the interior unglazed
Jingdezhen, 1810–1870
Height: 7.19 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.80/1.37 cm
Stopper: plastic

Arthur Gadsby
Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, 2 May 1991, lot 141

Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 173
Treasury 6, no. 1376

Hong Kong Museum of Art, March–June 1994  
National Museum of Singapore, November 1994–February 1995

It is often the case that the rarer a bottle, the more difficult it is to accurately date. This unique combination of a rare form and composition is a case in point. Kleiner likened it to the wares made for Suyun daoren 素雲道人 (the eunuch Liu Chengyin 劉誠印, d. 1894; see Sale 8, lots 1025 and 1093) and dated it to the late nineteenth century, but very rarely are his bottles painted in a manner related to literati painting. One exception is in Geng 1992, no. 234, but the quality of the porcelain, the style of painting, and the quality of the blue appear to be significantly different. There seems no reason not to date this to the earlier part of the century. It may even have been made in the late Jiaqing period—the unglazed interior would suggest this possibility—but if not, it is unlikely to be later than the Daoguang era.

A feature of this bottle that is found on other bottles of the nineteenth century is that a fairly obvious wash of beige ceramic, or huashi 滑石, has been added to the foot rim only, to give the impression that the snuff bottle is made of beige porcelain. The body of the bottle is actually translucent like normal porcelain, and where a tiny chip has flaked away from the beige slip, the porcelain beneath is white. Nor is the glaze crackled as it would probably have been with beige porcelain. The potter may have added a tiny wash of the more expensive material to the foot rim to give the impression that the entire bottle was huashi.


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=2071&exhibition=14&ee_lang=eng


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