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photographer E-Yaji.
Snuff Bottles from the Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part II  
Bonham's, Hong Kong, 23 November 2010: Lot 48 

Lot 48

   

Lot 48
Treasury 6, no. 1194

Reticulated Buddhist Emblems

Crackled creamy-white glaze on porcelain; the reticulated, double body with a flat lip and concave foot surrounded by a convex footrim; the outer body moulded with a continuous design of Eight Buddhist Emblems on a ground of formalized clouds framed between a base band of formalized lingzhi, above a band of raised dots, and a shoulder design of formalized lingzhi beneath a band of continuous leiwen (thunder pattern) with a band of raised dots at the upper-neck; all exterior surfaces of the outer body covered with glaze; the inner body covered with a thin wash of glaze; the interior unglazed
Probably imperial, Jingdezhen, 1790–1820
Height: 6.5 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.68/1.80 cm
Stopper: crackled, creamy-white glaze on porcelain, moulded with a formalized chrysanthemum design; original

Lot 48 Provenance:
China Guardian, Beijing, 20 April 1996, lot 837
Hugh Moss (HK) Ltd (1996)

Published:
Treasury 6, no. 1194

Lot 48 Commentary
If fingerprint records existed for mid-Qing potters, we would even be able to identify at least one of the people on the assembly line that made this particular bottle: the interior of the plain inner bottle retains a series of prints. To make the inner body, a flat sheet of still-malleable porcelain was placed into the half-body mould and pressed into it until it assumed the form. Once both halves were made, the two were joined vertically and bonded with slip. The outer body would then have been made in the same manner, but from two different moulds, since the design is not the same on each main side. Again, these were luted together at the narrow sides with slip and fixed by hand to the inner body. Once the bottle was leather hard, further detailing and carving would have been undertaken, particularly to remove any trace of the join from the exterior, but also to add the finer details as necessary. Then it remained only to glaze and fire it.

We have, again, left open the dating range to allow for late-Qianlong manufacture of this bottle, but we suspect that it is a straightforward Jiaqing version, and from the imperial kilns, although unmarked.

This is a design that occurs in various colour combinations. There is an enamelled, famille rose version, although from a different mould, in the Bragge 1878 (Fig 1), while another polychrome example, also from a different mould, is in Chinese Snuff Bottles, no. 3, p. 52, pl. W. One with creamy-white glaze is in Stevens 1976,no. 26. It should be noted that the additional handwork involved in piercing through the upper body often makes it more difficult with this type of bottle to judge whether different exemplars come from the same mould or not.

 

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