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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part X  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 1 June 2015: Lot 49 

Lot 49

Lot 49
Treasury 2, no. 201 (‘The Galaxy Macaroni Agate’)

Agate; very well hollowed, with a flat lip and shallowly recessed flat foot surrounded by a protruding flat foot rim with rounded edges
Height: 5.78 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.85/2 and 1.89 cm (oval)
Stopper: coral; stained walrus ivory and bronze double collar

Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, 29 April 1992, lot 531

Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 212
Treasury 2, no. 201

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

This type of stone is popularly called ‘macaroni-agate’ among Western collectors. The Chinese name for it is dengcao ma’nao 燈草瑪瑙 (lamp-wick agate), because its patterns resemble the squiggly white pith of the dengxin cao 燈心草 (‘lamp-wick grass’, Juncus effuses; ‘soft rush’), which is used in Chinese medicine.

Wherever it came from as a raw material, it was evidently popular from the latter part of the eighteenth century onwards and seems to have been considered sufficiently fascinating as a material in its own right as to rarely have encouraged more embellishment than the occasional pair of mask-and-ring handles.

Here the bottle is well formed and detailed, with excellent and extensive hollowing and good formal integrity.


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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