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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
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Ivory bottle. Boy, carp and lotus

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Author Topic: Ivory bottle. Boy, carp and lotus  (Read 1847 times)
Wattana
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« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2012, 05:16:46 am »

Dear Giovanni,

You have opened a can of worms! Some snuff bottle collectors are deeply divided on this topic. I think it all depends on your collecting rationale and philosophy. You have to go back to that first day you saw your very first snuff bottle....what were your thoughts at that moment? Everyone has different emotion. For me, it was the unexpected thrill that an object which has so much artistic skill lavished on it, and looks so beautiful, can fit into the palm of the hand AND be a functional item. In that sense it falls into the same category as top quality old pocket watches, silver inlaid fountain pens, Chinese porcelain bowls, custom-made folding knives, and so on. First and foremost (for me) is this fine equilibrium between 'art' and 'function'.

For this reason I have never developed a strong interest for inside painted bottles. I can admire the artists and the work that goes into them, and look on them as incredible works of miniature art. But as snuff bottles they are non-functional. That equilibrium I mentioned is not there.  If I am honest with myself, I have to say that I would never have been attracted to collecting snuff bottles if the only examples I ever saw were inside painted.

So, since that is where I am approaching snuff bottles from, I avoid collecting ones that cannot be used to contain snuff. Of course, I have a few exceptions, picked because I was simply attracted to them. But for the most part, all of my bottles are functional as snuff containers.

When you speak of bottles made for the "collectors' market", there are many fine examples, dating as far back as the mid-1800s, which are non-functional "cabinet pieces". If you are attracted to them as a form of miniature art, then you should definitely buy. Everyone to his (or her) own taste!

I collect many other items that combine 'art' with 'function', and would be happy to discuss them outside this forum.

Tom
« Last Edit: September 25, 2012, 05:21:53 am by Wattana » Report Spam   Logged

Tom
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Joey
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« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2012, 05:29:26 am »

Giovanni,
   I agree with Tom re. 1.the age of the piece; 2.the style; 3. the material.
Because of the restrictions in most Western countries today re. trade in Ivory, my assumption is that it is Mammoth ivory.

   It is a design I've never before seen either.
I had one like it, 41 years ago, but in my case, the fish was 'standing' on it's pelvic fins, which had been advanced to near where the pectoral fins should have been, and on it's tail (ie, standing on three points), and the kid was lying on top, one hand on the dorsal fin.
It was also probably not antique, though it was nicely (though not well) hollowed. The stopper was very similar, so they may well have come from the same workshop, if it's been working since the 1950s/1960s.

  It is nicely carved, but my minimal definition of a 'snuff bottle, is that it has to be capable of holding snuff. Wink

  James,
     I'm interested in getting a mammoth ivory chess set, carved to imitate the Viking chess sets, examples of which were found years ago in UK & Scandinavia. Occasionally, I see a set like I want, but in resin. Plastic doesn't do it for me.
Joey

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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2012, 12:47:11 pm »

Thank you dear Joey, a further confirmation of Tomís opinion.
Dear Tom, letís open that can Smiley. I am with you. I share your attitude, with some exception. I do like IP bottles when the paint is recalling traditional Chinese paintings. Examples are this bottle posted recently by Pat:
http://snuffbottle.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,1163.0.html
I too have a bottle of the type I mean, which will post soon.
The two big bottles that I have posted, the one with day and nocturne landscape by Wang Ya Lin and the one with the QingMing festival, are really exceptions. I think that it will be hard that I will buy again one of these bottles; said that, may be tomorrow I will stumble in a similar bottle and buy it, donít know. What I really know is that for sure will never buy a bottle like the ones that are seen on this page:
http://www.snuffbottleclub.com/
Although I admire the skill of the artist, I really do not see art in that.
And now dear friends you can ban me from the forum Smiley
Kind regards
Giovanni
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Wattana
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« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2012, 09:40:58 pm »


I share your attitude, with some exception. I do like IP bottles when the paint is recalling traditional Chinese paintings. Examples are this bottle posted recently by Pat:
http://snuffbottle.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,1163.0.html

...What I really know is that for sure will never buy a bottle like the ones that are seen on this page:
http://www.snuffbottleclub.com/
Although I admire the skill of the artist, I really do not see art in that.
And now dear friends you can ban me from the forum Smiley


Dear Giovanni,

We seem to be sharing the same road (and the same can or worms!). I agree completely with your sentiments. Of course there will be exceptions - deviations from one's main interest. My criterion for IP bottles is this: If the painting was taken out of the bottle and enlarged to the size of a normal painting, would I like to see it hanging on my wall? The first link (to Pat's bottle) is a style I like a lot, and very similar to that of Suo Zhenhai. I have two Suo Zhenhai bottles, bought on different occasions. Each time it was in an exhibition at Beijng Airport, where 300-400 IP bottles were on display. On both occasions most of the bottles were like the examples in your second link - technically perfect, very photo-realistic, but not artistic. On both occasions ONLY ONE bottle stood out from the crowd. I bought them without knowing who the artist was. I just liked the restrained use of colour, and the subtle washes, which reminded me of good traditional Chinese brush painting. I have had them both for 6 years, without realizing they were by the same artist, because one is signed Suo Zhenhai, while the other is signed Yi Shi (I discovered only 2 months ago that is one of SZH's 'art names'!).

Like you, I may sometimes see an IP bottle that really appeals to me, just as your QingMing Festival bottle did. But that is very much the exception to the rule.

Tom
« Last Edit: September 25, 2012, 10:02:38 pm by Wattana » Report Spam   Logged

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Joey
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« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2012, 12:49:41 pm »

I couldn't open the second site, Giovanni, so I don't know what you WOULDN'T buy. I love Suo Zhenhai, but I love many other artists' works as well.
But that is what makes a horse-race. Everyone has their own opinion.
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #25 on: September 26, 2012, 02:31:04 pm »

Dear Joey,
I suppose that you should know that site, www.snuffbottleclub.com, which I found by searching about who is David Osborne, who is often mentioned here in the forum. On the main page there are bottles painted by a promising artist of the Xisan academy. They look as photograph of babies, and that kind of nice Christhmas cards, which has nothing to do with Chinese art, or at least what I expect for that.
But, to all, please don't take this my point of view as a critic. It is just to manifest what I like to see,  very well explained by Tom with his approach to see the paint as an hanging scroll. I am not criticizing the taste of others, if some has felt so, I apologize for that. "Gusto non si discute" (Taste is not discussed).
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #26 on: September 26, 2012, 02:40:39 pm »

Giovanni,
   You have a right to your opinion, and in this case, I would agree with you and Tom, that, since inside painted snuff bottles are another medium of Chinese painting, if it wouldn't look good as a scroll, it probably isn't good as a bottle. I qualify it as 'probably', because the bottle's shape can affect the design etc.
   If people are offended by your valid personal opinion, possibly they should get a thicker skin, though I heartily agree that no-one should needlessly offend another person.
Best, Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

Wattana
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« Reply #27 on: September 26, 2012, 10:29:36 pm »


   If people are offended by your valid personal opinion, possibly they should get a thicker skin...


Joey,
   Maybe we should set up a 'pachydermal' section for topics that require a thicker skin.  Cheesy
Tom
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« Reply #28 on: September 27, 2012, 01:06:54 pm »

Tom,
   It would be a great idea if we could figure what would set people off. But there were things said that I would have thought  were totally innocuous, and yet set off some people. Go know...
With me, for example, if someone  said to me," Now wasn't that Herr Hitler a nice man?", I could see that pushing certain buttons...   Wink Huh

Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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