Meriem Collection Sale One / 662

The Meriem Collection. Lot 662

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JAPAN, 1854-1920
Of unusual flattened, tapering baluster form with flat lip and
recessed, slightly concave foot surrounded by a footrim, carved
on each main side through the black outer layer with a five clawed,
scaly dragon shown full face as it flies in pursuit of a
flaming pearl amidst red clouds and above a black ingot on one
side and double lozenges on the reverse, with black rocks framed
by crashing waves forming a band below, all reserved on a red
diaper ground and framed in black lacquer by narrow fluted
borders above and below and formalized wave borders on the
sides, the foot incised with an apocryphal Qianlong mark,
original lacquer stopper
7.6 cm. high

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.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, Japanese workshops began
to expand their repertoire to include snuff bottles, probably in response
to the growing demand from Western collectors of Chinese snuff bottles
following the opening up of Japan to Western trade in the mid-1850s.
While commercial and artistic exchanges between China and Japan have
been well documented through the centuries, Japanese snuff bottles
were apparently marketed directly to the West. It is extremely rare to
find them coming out of China.

This exceptional red and black lacquer bottle is a masterpiece among a
small group of carved lacquer snuff bottles purporting to be Imperial
Qianlong products and carved broadly in Chinese style. For related
bottles possibly by the same hand, see J. Ford, Chinese Snuff Bottles. The
Edward Choate O’Dell Collection, no. 64, and Moss, Graham, Tsang, The
Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, no. 316. For a range
of bottles in lacquer, but in the Japanese style, see S. Cammann,
Miniature Art from Old China. Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Montclair
Art Museum Collections, no. 417; Pamela Friedman, Chinese Snuff
Bottles from the Pamela R. Lessing Friedman Collection, no. 95; and
Robert Hall, Chinese Snuff Bottles II, no. 24.

The color combination of the rich, jet-black lacquer of the main subject
juxtaposed against the vivid red ground is extremely effective and this
unique form adds to the appeal of this particular example.

The Meriem Collection. Lot 662

Hugh Moss |