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photographer E-Yaji.
Snuff Bottles from the Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part I  
Bonham's, Hong Kong, 28 May 2010: Lot 6 

Lot 6

Lot 6
Treasury 2, no. 322

The Ink-Play Master’s Delicious Ducks

Dendritic agate; very well hollowed, with a concave lip and concave foot surrounded by a small convex footrim; carved with a continuous partially cameo design of seven ducks on a lotus pond surrounded by rocky outcrops and long grass
The Cameo Ink-play Master, possibly imperial, Official school, 1770–1860
Height: 5.9 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.74/2.00 and 2.05 cm (oval)
Stopper: carnelian; silver collar

Lot 6 Provenance:
Hugh Moss (1985)

Moss 1971, p. 56, no. 146
Snuff Bottles of the Ch’ing Dynasty 1978, p. 118, no. 214
Kleiner 1987, no. 168
Treasury 2, no. 322, and front and back covers of one volume

Hong Kong Museum of Art, October–December 1978
Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987
Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993

Lot 6 Commentary
In common with all of this carver’s finest works, this is one of the great masterpieces of the Chinese chalcedony carver’s art. The use of the material here is spectacular, including particularly stunning use of white inclusions mixed in with the brown, a relatively unusual occurrence in chalcedony snuff bottles but one which was obviously a speciality of this artist (see also Treasury 2, no. 324 and Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, no. 156 in the J & J Collection, the latter using the material in a similar way to completely separate a creature in the lower foreground near the foot). Another stroke of genius which earned this bottle a starring place in the Eyeball Agate group and, in fact, was one of the main reasons the name was coined (Moss 1971, nos. 145-147, and Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, no. 120), is the use of darker markings to create the eyes of the two ducks swimming together on the less colourful main side.

This is another of the examples with this master’s ‘melting’ rockwork, discussed under Treasury 2, no. 321.
Easy link to this page: http://www.e-yaji.com/auction/photo.php?photo=91&exhibition=1&ee_lang=eng


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