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photographer E-Yaji.

The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part III  
Bonham's, Hong Kong, 25 May 2011: Lot 28 

Lot 28

Lot 28
Treasury 7, no. 1542

A carved cinnabar lacquer ‘landscape’ snuff bottle

(‘Scholars Alone’)

Cinnabar-red lacquer on bronze; with a flat lip and slightly protruding, flat foot; carved to varying depths with a continuous landscape scene divided into two separate subjects, each depicting a lone scholar with his attendant strolling in the countryside, one beneath a large willow tree as he approaches the steps to a stone bridge over a stream, his attendant carrying a bundle of books over his shoulder, the other with a scholar on a riverbank turning to instruct his attendant, who carries his wrapped qin beneath a wutong tree, each side with a further bank of rocks, the flat foreground of each side filled with a formalized floral diaper, the river depicted as formalized waves and the sky as formalized clouds, the narrow sides each filled with tall rock formations; the shoulders with a continuous band of formalized clouds; the upper-neck rim featuring a band of formalized lingzhi above a ground of formalized floral diaper; the foot and lip of bronze
Probably imperial, 1730–1820
Height: 6.78 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.58/2.30 cm
Stopper: cinnabar-red lacquer on bronze, carved with a formalized chrysanthemum design; bronze finial and collar with integral cork and spoon; original

Lot 28 Provenance:      
Hugh Moss (HK) Ltd (1997)

Treasury 7, no. 1542

Lot 28 Commentary
This is a classic imperial lacquer, on bronze, retaining its original chrysanthemum stopper and featuring a design of figures in landscape. This also has the integral bronze cork and spoon made as part of the collar, which is found on enough similar examples to suggest a standard type.

This group of bottles represents masterly carving in lacquer that is splendidly sculptural and covers a range of delightful subject matter. We can be sure that the group as a whole was imperial, even if we cannot be sure that every last example was made for the court. If they were made in Suzhou for the court, the same workshops might have made others for private sale.

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