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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part X  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 1 June 2015: Lot 27 

Lot 27

Lot 27
Treasury 2, no. 308 (‘The Officially Puzzled Monkey Jasper’)

Jasper; well hollowed, with a concave lip and recessed, slightly convex foot surrounded by a protruding flat foot rim; carved with a cameo design of a monkey seated on a rocky outcrop
Height: 7.42 cm
Mouth/lip:0.79/2.24 cm
Stopper: glass; silver collar

Trojan Collection
Robert Hall (1993)

Hall 1992, no. 50
Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 239
Treasury 2, no. 308

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

The common colours in jasper are green, yellow, and red, or mixtures of these colours, allowing for a wide range of orange or brown tones. This sumptuous piece of material is of an unusually even reddish-orange colour, providing a large expanse of unified ground for the yellowish monkey perched on the rock. In this case, the constraints of the material did not dictate the size of the bottle, as they might have done in some ink-play agates, since the relief plane would have provided a monkey of smaller dimensions equally well, so we can be fairly certain that the larger size was a deliberate choice, either for greater capacity or as a broader ‘canvas’ for the work of art. Few large snuff bottles can be confidently dated to the earlier part of the Qing dynasty and we may assume that they gained popularity only during the Qianlong period, and possibly the second half of it.

This is an exceptional example of the subject, with as distinct a personality in the creature as any and with very confident, crisp carving. The foot of the bottle is very slightly convex, but it is perfectly finished and surrounded by a very neat foot rim, so it is probably a conscious alternative to the flat foot, not a sign of slipping standards.


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


Easy link to this page: http://www.e-yaji.com/auction/photo.php?photo=2292&exhibition=17&ee_lang=eng


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