Lot 14 Lot 15 Lot 16 Lot 17 Lot 18 Lot 19 Lot 20

photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part X  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 1 June 2015: Lot 17 

Lot 17

Lot 17
Treasury 1, no. 22 (‘Nayancheng’s Companion’)

Nephrite, with artificial colour; very well hollowed, with a slightly convex recessed foot; carved on each main side with an identical taotie mask and on the narrow sides with formalized scrolling cloud motifs, the natural pebble skin added to and enhanced by staining
Height: 6.02 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.60/1.85 and 1.82 cm (oval)
Stopper: mother-of-pearl; coral finial, stained ivory collar

Hugh M. Moss Ltd (Hong Kong, 1992)

Kleiner 1995, no. 60
Treasury 1, no. 22

British Museum, London, June–October 1995
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997

The dating of this bottle is suggested by the very similar example that belonged to the high official Nayancheng 那彥成 (1763 – 1833; Sale 5, lot 64). The two are of identical material, (beige pebble nephrite, both with natural skin and artificial colouring) and they have the same subject, right down to the highly formalized cloud motif of the narrow sides.

Quite apart from the material, these distinctive taotie masks, with their lingzhi-shaped ears, foolish grins and rather cross-eyed look, can only have been carved by the same hand at approximately the same time. Since we know the dates of Nayancheng, we can be fairly certain of the period of this bottle, which is a rare luxury for an otherwise unidentified hardstone snuff bottle.

The extension of the probable date period by a few years beyond the death of Nayancheng allows for this example to have been made shortly after his death if the carver continued to produce similar wares for a time.


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=2340&exhibition=17&ee_lang=eng


Lot 14 Lot 15 Lot 16 Lot 17 Lot 18 Lot 19 Lot 20


Hugh Moss |