Meriem Collection Sale One / 677

The Meriem Collection. Lot 677

Previous | Thumbnails | Next
Click on the image below for a close up

The grey jade bottle of compressed ovoid form with slightly concave lip, and small,
oval concave foot, the translucent stone of pale grey color suffused with fine black
speckling and white inclusions creating fog-like depths, coral stopper with vinyl collar;
the black crystal bottle of rounded rectangular form with a flat lip and recessed oval foot
surrounded by a footrim, the semi-translucent stone of dark brownish-black color,
jadeite stopper with gilt-metal collar
5.2 cm. and 5.9 cm. high (2)

P R O V E N A N C E :
The grey jade bottle: Hugh Moss Ltd.
The black crystal bottle: Elisabeth and Ladislas Kardos Collection, no. 7.

While it may be assumed that pure white nephrite snuff bottles and carvings would have been
more popular, there is evidence that there was also a taste for a range of duller materials that may
seem visually uninspiring initially. So important to the Chinese audience was this pebble material
with it surface inclusions and discoloration that it is recorded late in 1743 that the Qianlong
Emperor gave instructions for the improvement of two white jades he had ordered from the
Imperial workshops at Suzhou: “Bake the white jade Immortal and horse to create some stains so
they look like the Han jades and make an elegant stand for each of them.” There is also evidence
that he decreed that all future productions of white jade Immortals and horses should be antique finished
to the color recorded in the Kaogu Tu (Illustrated Research on Archaeology). As such, it is
possible that the present lot would have appealed to an audience who favoured old jades, while
the simple, yet perfectly proportioned shape of the bottle demonstrates masterful command of the
formal medium, with its understated perfection of shape.

Black or brown crystal, more popularly known as “tea crystal” or “smoky crystal”, is an attractive
material with a subtle, metallic, inky-brown color. As with other crystal examples and snuff bottles
made from flawless, transparent material, the integrity of form and subtle visual equilibrium is
achieved by the careful hollowing of the interior, combined with the masterful balance of the
outer contours of the bottle.

The Meriem Collection. Lot 677

Hugh Moss |