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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part X  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 1 June 2015: Lot 67 

Lot 67

Lot 67
Treasury 2, no. 253 (‘The Staged Carnelian’)

Carnelian-agate; well but not extensively hollowed, with a concave lip and protruding flat foot; carved low on each narrow side with groups of rocks
Height: 5.1 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.45/1.62 cm
Stopper: carnelian; ivory collar
Stand: carnelian, carved with four lingzhi-head feet; possibly original

Claar Collection
Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 2 December 1969, lot 101
Hugh M. Moss Ltd (1970)
Margaret Prescott Wise
Edgar and Roberta Wise (1995)
Robert Kleiner (1996)

Treasury 2, no. 253

Stylistically, this bottle is part of a group of usually small, usually ovoid, and frequently carnelian snuff bottles probably from the second half of the Qing dynasty, although they may have originated in the late eighteenth century. (Another example in this collection is Sale 9, lot 26, where the group is considered in more detail).

This is one of the better-coloured pieces of carnelian from the group, with one side an almost unblemished, pure, and even brownish-red, and the other with only one darker flaw. Although usually plain, these bottles are occasionally lightly carved, and the reason for the carving here is plain to see. Low on one side is a small patch of concentrically-striated whitish agate. It has been used as part of the rock formation on one narrow side, the other being carved to balance it and to help conceal a slight flaw that runs beneath the foot onto each narrow side.

A lack of polished finish on the foot area suggests that originally this was designed to be glued into the stand and the two were to be perceived as a single unit.


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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