Meriem Collection Sale One / 615

The Meriem Collection. Lot 615

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**A FINE CRYSTAL SNUFF BOTTLE
1730-1840
Of compressed spherical form with flat lip and recessed flat oval foot, well hollowed to
show off the flawless stone, tourmaline stopper with silver collar
5.9 cm. high
$3,500-4,500

P R O V E N A N C E :
Hugh Moss Ltd.
E X H I B I T E D :
Canadian Craft Museum, Vancouver, 1992.

While quartz was readily available in China and used alongside the more popular nephrite for small
carvings, it did not come fully into its own as a material until the beginning of the Qing dynasty,
the snuff bottle probably playing an important role in its popularity. One great advantage of
crystalline quartz, when it is both colorless and relatively flawless, is that it allowed a snuff
connoisseur to see the color and quality of the contents of the bottle through its walls. At its
purest, represented by the present example, the material is completely clear and glass-like, as
resilient as jade and cool to the touch. Its nature would have appealed greatly to the Chinese given
their love of natural materials.

An undecorated flawless crystal snuff bottle of very similar shape is illustrated by Moss, Graham,
Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 2, Quartz, no. 189. Another example is illustrated
by Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, no. 93 (and sold
in these rooms, 30 March 2005, lot 55). Two other bottles carved from flawless crystal are
illustrated by M. Hughes, The Blair Bequest. Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Princeton University Art
Museum, p. 54, nos. 24 and 25.
1730–1840

The Meriem Collection. Lot 615

Hugh Moss |