Lot 28 Lot 28 Lot 29 Lot 29 Lot 29 Lot 29 Lot 29

photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part X  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 1 June 2015: Lot 29 

Lot 29

Lot 29
(‘A Fan of Ma Shaoxuan’)

Colourless crystal with some icy flaws, ink, and watercolours; of inverted folding-fan shape without a defined foot; painted inside with both sides of a simulated folding-fan, the beige paper held on a black fan frame, the ends terminating in formalized lingzhi, the bones plain and stopping short of the mouth to allow the stopper to function visually as the point from which the bones radiate, one side of the fan painted with a dragonfly above flowering lotus plants and long grass, the other with one black and one orange-red fan-tailed goldfish; signed on the simulated surface of the fan Ma Shaoxuan 馬少宣, with one seal of the artist in negative seal script, Shao
Ma Shaoxuan, Ox Street district, Beijing, 1895-1910   
Stopper: coral, carved as the terminal point of the fan; original
Height: 5.35 cm (including original stopper)
Mouth/lip: 0.54/0.86 cm

Mrs. E. L. Holmes
Christie's London, 5 April 1971, lot 7
Hugh Moss
J & J Collection
Christie’s, New York, 29 March 2006, lot 60
Hugh Moss (HK) Ltd March 2006

JICSBS, December 1977, p. 18, no. 23
Snuff Bottles of the Ch’ing Dynasty 1978, p. 124, no. 233
Christie, Manson, & Woods 1987, no. 77
J & J poster
Orientations, October 1987, p. 42, fig. 8
JICSBS, Autumn 1989, front cover
JICSBS, Winter 1989, p. 5, fig. 12
Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, no. 421
National Museum of History 2002, p. 72
Asian Art, March 2003, p. 18

Hugh M. Moss Ltd, London, September 1974
Hong Kong Museum of Art, October-December 1978
Christie's London, October 1987
Christie's New York, 1993
Empress Place Museum, Singapore, 1994
Museum fur Kunsthandwerk, Frankfurt, 1996-1997
Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, London, 1997
Naples Museum of Art, Florida, 2002
Portland Museum of Art, Oregon, 2002
National Museum of History, Taipei, 2002
International Asian Art Fair, Seventh Regiment Armory, New York, 2003
Poly Art Museum, Beijing, 2003

Only one other bottle of this unusual shape painted by Ma Shaoxuan is known, illustrated in Geng Baochang and Zhao Binghua 1992, no. 343. Its design is almost identical, although the positioning of the dragonfly has changed, and the bottle is slightly narrower. There can be no doubt that these two snuff bottles were made specifically to be painted with this subject matter.

Ma has successfully achieved a comfortable shape for the bottle, while giving the impression that the fan is open so as to reveal the design without distortion. This is one of Ma's most effective designs and more impressive bottles. The visual game of the fan inside a fan-shape and of Ma appearing to paint not merely the bottle but the fan itself, upon which he signs, is delightful, as is the use of the stopper as the terminal point of the fan itself, the hub, from which the frame with its bones radiates.


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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