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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part X  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 1 June 2015: Lot 78 

Lot 78

Lot 78
(‘The Cussons Aragonite‘)

Translucent white calcite (aragonite); well hollowed, with a concave lip and naturalistic foot made up of elements of the design; carved in the form of two elephant heads, each forming one of the narrow sides, their trunks curling beneath the bottle to act as two parts of the tripod foot
Probably imperial, 1720 – 1840
Height: 5.05 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.72/1.58 cm
Stopper: turquoise carved as a formalized chrysanthemum flower

Alex Cussons Collection
Hugh M. Moss Ltd, London.
White Wings Collection

JICSBS, June 1977, p. 7, no. 9
Snuff bottles of the Ch’ing Dynasty 1978, no. 126
Chinese Snuff Bottles 1 (1964), p. 22, fig. 4
Jutheau 1980, p. 109
Très précieuses tabatières chinoises 1982, no. 220
Kleiner 1997, no. 139

Hong Kong Museum of Art, 1978
Arcade Chaumet, Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam, June-August, 1982

The imperial connection here is provided by the subject matter. Elephants were a common imperial subject and unusual on non-imperial wares of the eighteenth or early-nineteenth century. Works of art with elephants or elephant heads depicted or in the form of elephants, were among the more common objects found in imperial residences.

The formalized chrysanthemum flower was also a standard imperial stopper, suggesting this one may be the original.


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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