Meriem Collection Sale One / 671(A).jpg

The Meriem Collection. Lot 671

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**A WELL-CARVED AGATE SNUFF BOTTLE
OFFICIAL SCHOOL, 1760-1860
Of compressed spherical form with concave mouth and flat
natural foot, one side ingeniously carved from the olive-brown
markings in the stone with the immortal Liu Hai kneeling on an
outcrop of rock as he dangles a string of cash to tempt his three legged
toad, set amidst swirling waves around the base, the scene
continuing onto the other main side with two frogs seated on
lily pads divided by the vertical white and brown striations
falling like a waterfall from the neck, carnelian stopper with
silver collar
5.4 cm. high
$8,000-12,000

P R O V E N A N C E :
Hugh Moss Ltd.

It takes the skill of an exceptional artist to transform as rich a material
as this, using the different planes of color in contrasting layers to create
a coherent and successful work of art. Another successful transformation
of a similar material is seen in an example formerly in the J & J Collection,
sold in these rooms 30 March 2005, lot 69 and illustrated by Hugh Moss,
Chinese Snuff Bottles of the Silica or Quartz Group, front cover and p. 67,
no. 75.

Liu Hai is the immortal associated with commercial success. He is nearly
always portrayed with his three-legged toad and cash, and conveys a wish
for prosperity. The three-legged toad itself has origins in the magical
realm, representing the unattainable. It was only in later Chinese art that
it was associated with Liu Hai. The toad (chan) together with the lotus
(lian) forms the homonym chanlian, a term signifying success. The bottle
thus carries numerous wishes for riches and good fortune.
1760–1860

The Meriem Collection. Lot 671

Hugh Moss |