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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part X  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 1 June 2015: Lot 79 

Lot 79

Lot 79
Treasury 4, no. 446 (‘Aromatic Sleeves’)

Flawless crystal and ink; with a flat lip and protruding concave foot surrounded by a flat foot rim; the narrow sides carved with mask-and-ring handles; the two main sides inscribed with an encomium on the snuff bottle in regular script
Bottle: 1760–1811
Painting: Yiru jushi 一如居士, attributable to Beijing, circa 1802–1811
Height: 6.7 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.55 cm/1.80 cm
Stopper: glass; vinyl collar

Albert Pyke (Los Angeles)
Hugh M. Moss Ltd (circa 1965)
Ladislas Kardos (circa 1965)
Reif Collection (circa 1965)
Christie’s, New York, 18 October 1993, lot 235

Kleiner 1995, no. 376
Treasury 4, no. 446

British Museum, London, June–November 1995
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997
Christie’s, London, 1999

This bears the same encomium as Sale 7, lot 11, but in this case every character is legible, making it possible for us to correct our translation slightly. This is a lyric written to the tune Qinyuan chun 沁園春; each main side has one stanza.



Fragrance is stored in an icy bottle;
It fills the sleeves as it is brought;
Bad smells can be done away with.
With contact in the chain of cause and effect,
A hand soft as cotton
Secretly conveys it to the philtrum
And the eyes come alert.
Fine like wafting smoke,
Fragrant as soaking dew,
It is kept as a treasure in a jade case or brocade bag.
And we so we can savour it,
We ask a skilled craftsman to engrave [its bottle]
Like the most painstaking carving.

It is warm and soft like the finest jade.
What’s more, inside and out,
It is clear and bright, excellent in artistic conception.
And we delight that within is an inch-square space,
Where the writing is done, ‘goose-tracks [in the mud]’,
And outside pure dots and slanting strokes of
Regular characters: one sees [strokes as small as] flies’ heads.
Such thought went into this,
Such strength of sight!
Clever and without peer.
Truly worth enjoying,
To take the breath of orchids
And with iron-like strokes make the ‘silver hooks’.


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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