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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part X  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 1 June 2015: Lot 33 

Lot 33

Lot 33
Treasury 2, no. 213 (‘The Imperial Column Puddingstone’)

Quartz conglomerate (puddingstone); reasonably well hollowed, with a flat lip and recessed flat foot surrounded by a flat foot rim
Possibly imperial, 1760–1880
Height: 5.55 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.53/1.5 cm
Stopper: coral; jadeite collar

Sotheby’s, New York, 6 April 1990, lot 75

Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 246
Treasury 2, no. 213

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

This variety of quartz puddingstone is distinguished by the breccia matrix made up a host of jagged fragments visible to the naked eye. An identical piece of stone, presumably from the same specimen and made by the same workshop, is in the J & J Collection (Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, no. 74).

Similar snuff bottles have the palace-style upper neck rim and tapering form that suggest this type of puddingstone might have been carved at and for the court. A further link between this cylindrical form and the court is to be found in a series of cylindrical glass bottles, many of imperial colour and attributable to the court (see, for instance, the ruby glass example in Au Hang 1993, no. 11, which is very similar in shape to this example). Others are known in white nephrite of exactly this form, (see, for instance, Au Hang 1993, no. 99). The existence of a range of different materials in identical form alerts us, as always, to the possibility of an imperial source.

This bottle is far less sophisticated in its form than other imperial cylindrical forms and the simple crystal cylinder of lot 12 in this auction. Two straightforward cylinders of different diameters, one for the body and one for the neck, are the entire formal statement. No attempt has been made to make the form more intriguing or elegant; there is no tapering, no flaring of the neck, no lip rim, not even a visible foot rim until you turn the bottle upside down. Even the lip is flat. However, this simpler form may well reflect the deliberate choice of the artist to tame the busy pattern of the material.


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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