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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part X  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 1 June 2015: Lot 55 

Lot 55

Lot 55
Treasury 2, no. 341 (‘The Imperial Goose Agate’)

Agate; very well hollowed, with a flat lip and flat foot; the material with an entirely natural design of a goose in flight with another on the ground looking upwards
Probably imperial, possibly palace workshops, 1730–1840
Height: 6.4 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.94/2.20 cm
Stopper: glass; gilt-silver collar

Hugh M. Moss Ltd (1973-1976)
Frederick von Schleinitz
J. J. Lally & Co. (1996)
Hugh M. Moss Ltd (1996)

Treasury 2, no. 341

Musée de la Miniature, Montelimar, 2000

Here, the reasons for an attribution to the imperial workshops are not as many as for Sale 1, lot 53, but they are sufficient for a tentative one. Apart from the material, which is agate similar in colour to that example and the J & J example cited in relation to it (Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, no. 116), it is equally extensively hollowed.

The main reason for an imperial attribution, however, is the shape. This is a variation on the imperial form discussed under Sale 5, lot 163 and popular also in palace glass snuff bottles. It is a little chubbier here, and slightly narrower than is usual, but nonetheless of the same basic compressed pear-shaped form with a flat or concave foot that does not in either case protrude beyond the line of the pear shape. It also has the typical squat cylindrical neck for the form.

When held in the hand, this bottle presents itself as a very powerful and entirely natural ink-play agate. Regardless of how far one imagines a scene in the markings, this is one of the masterly natural ink-play agates, of a lovely form and with exquisite detailing and hollowing, and as such is in a class with Sale 1, lot 82, Sale 4, lot 95, and Sale 6, lot 126; and, in the J & J Collection, nos. 117–121.


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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