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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part X  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 1 June 2015: Lot 44 

Lot 44

Lot 44
Treasury 1, no. 166 (‘The Painted-Pebble Jade’)

Nephrite of pebble material with artificial colour; extremely well hollowed, with a concave lip and concave foot surrounded by a flat foot rim, the natural pebble skin enhanced with staining
Height: 5.05 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.60/1.81 and 1.79 cm (oval)
Stopper: jadeite; gilt-silver collar

Hugh M. Moss Ltd (Hong Kong, 1993)

Treasury 1, no. 166

Despite material that is unusually rustic for the group, this fits into a large range of jade snuff bottles that are linked primarily by the fact that they are jade, extremely well hollowed (some to the point of outrageous virtuosity), undecorated (other than for the occasional identifying inscription on the base), and generally of compressed spherical or ovoid forms (although a few others could also be linked to the group despite eccentric forms). They occur both in nephrite and jadeite and others in this collection are Sale 1, lot 17 and lot 59; Sale 2, lot 127; Sale 3, lot 23 and lot 32; Sale 8, lot 1034 and lot 1115; Sale 9, lot 131; and lot 38 in the present auction.

They are not a school as such, since they were certainly made at a number of different workshops and could easily be linked to a similar range of bottles in crystal and chalcedony, for instance. They were undoubtedly produced over an extended period of time, although most were probably made in the mid-Qing period between the 1750s and the 1850s. Because of their plainness and lightness they are extremely pleasing bottles to hold in the hand, a quality that, in this case, is greatly enhanced by the pebble material, which has a finely but randomly textured surface, giving it the appearance of well-worn leather.

On this bottle a great deal of the colouring has been added artificially. This is apparent under close examination, because much of the colour is concentrated not on the upper portions of the surface texturing but in the network of tiny valleys between. It is also clearly visible at the lip, where it is obvious that the colour is concentrated in a tiny layer confined to the exterior surface.


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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