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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
October 18, 2018, 04:25:36 pm
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Blue & White Porcelain Bottles

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Author Topic: Blue & White Porcelain Bottles  (Read 3259 times)
rpfstoneman
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« on: December 25, 2012, 11:54:13 pm »

Today gave me the chance to take some pictures of a few bottles I have acquired over the last two months.  This is a blue and white porcelain snuff bottle that I purchase from John O'Hara, a fellow collector that has a passion for dragon motif bottles.  He acquired it from a well-known collector from Wilmington, Del., who was known as the “Blue Dragon Lady”.

Blue & White Porcelain Dragon Bottle:
A porcelain snuff bottle with a slender cylindrical shape with a straight undecorated neck.  A finely painted five clawed scaly dragon with it's head bursting through a 12 pillowed cloud and body trailing behind.  Also, illustrated is a tiger standing on rocky perch below and to the right of the dragon.  Very fine white clay potted porcelain with glazed base and unglazed raised foot rim, no mark.  Green stone stopper with an ivory spoon.  Height is 7.9 cm by 2.7 cm in diameter.  c. 1820-1880.



 

All comments and any additional background information is encouraged and welcome, Charll
    
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 04:13:18 pm by Bottle Guy » Report Spam   Logged

Charll K Stoneman, Eureka, California USA, Collector Since 1979.

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« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2012, 12:08:22 am »

Hi Charll,

congratulations!!


A Very lovely dragon bottle, the  motif is not so common on the snuff bottle, its 'fighting between the tiger and dragon' the pillow cloud is very special as well.

Steven
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« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2012, 02:50:16 am »

Beautiful bottle Charll !

Lovely spoon/stopper too !
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Joey
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« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2012, 08:10:33 am »

Stunning bottle Charll!
I don't remember seeing this one. I'm sure I'd have remembered.
Congratulations.
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2012, 09:07:22 pm »

This is one I'd love to own Charll!  Congrats...
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Best Regards

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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2012, 02:37:26 pm »

Love the dragon breaking through the cloud!  Glad you got this one Charll, know you are going to treasure it for a long time!   Jo
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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2012, 01:08:17 am »

Charll,

The combination of dragon and tiger is relatively rare on snuff bottles. I have a duanstone bottle with the same theme. It is accompanied by an inscription in seal script: 'feng yun ji hui', which I understand to mean "the meeting of the wind and the clouds", the dragon and tiger embodying these two elements.

A very attractive and unusual B&W porcelain bottle.

Best wishes to all for the New Year!
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Tom
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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2012, 04:03:03 am »

'feng yun ji hui', does mean "the meeting of the wind and the clouds" literally.  It is however mostly used to symbolize 'an upcoming battle', 'a meeting of rivalry', 'an incoming storm', etc.

Nice bottle to say the least

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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2012, 04:18:41 am »

Thanks Lamlam,

If that is so, I am wondering what receiving such a bottle as a gift can mean! Let's have a fight?  Smiley
 
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Tom
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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2012, 05:33:38 am »

Thank you Tom and LamLam, I didn't know the meaning of the dragon and tiger motif.
Nice bottle dear Charll, the dragon is very well painted considering the small dimension.
Giovanni
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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2012, 03:16:40 pm »

Dear Charll, Tom, Lamlam, et al,
    I understood that the motif of dragon and tiger symbolised yin and yang guardians, and was meant to be a sign of protection.  It is a positive symbol, not a negative.  One would hardly put a negative symbol on a snuff bottle, whether meant as a personal possession or as a gift.
Shabbat Shalom,
Joey
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2012, 11:08:12 pm »

All,

I’ve been trying to figure out soft paste porcelains and the surface interaction with glazing for over a year now.  After hitting upon a few key web sites and discussion threads with referrals to references recently, and acquiring the bottle illustrated below, I think I almost have a handle on the subject of soft paste snuff bottles.
  
The bottle shown below is a soft paste glaze porcelain bottle, but without the usual crackling.  It has a matted silky sheen and a soft waxy feel upon warming in the hand.  The porcelain body has a thin glaze coating which is another feature of soft paste.  The glazed surface is full of minute abrasive wear as if it has been sanded with fine sandpaper.  

Underglazed cobalt blue landscape with two figures standing before an open pavilion on a wooded peninsula surrounded by a large lake with boats and birds.  Gilded rim antique button of blue glass for a stopper with a mother-of-pearl button collar.   Base has an underglazed blue double ring with no mark and a raised unglazed foot rim.    Height is 6 cm with a 4 cm wide bulb.

Speculation on age is late 19th century or early 20th, or it could even be post 1950?

The bottle was acquired from an estate sale in Upper State New York recently.  Price $15.





Charll's Friday Night Bottle, Enjoy and Read Further if Interested.



Soft Paste Porcelains- The term 'soft paste' may be somewhat of a misnomer in that the body does not appear to be any softer than ordinary porcelain.  Generally not as stable in firing, soft paste glazed items often may exhibit production issues like fire-cracks.  The glaze of soft paste is not fused to the body in the same manner as hard paste porcelains, but remains on the surface as a coating, thus many soft paste items exhibit crazing or crackling of the glazed surface.  The glaze is often crackled as a result of a difference in cooling between the glaze and the body.   Chinese soft paste originally was made of a white-firing clay, called huashi or 'slippery stone', which use is documented in reports from 1712 and 1722 by the Jesuit Pere d'Entrecolles.  The surface may look creamy or ‘soapy’ and have a silky waxy feel.  Soft paste porcelains are less resilient than hard paste and its glaze can be scratched more easily.

As this clay was expensive, soft-paste pieces are usual small and thinly potted. They are also well-painted, as the body is particularly suitable for detailed drawing.  Besides the 'true' soft-paste, there are pieces with an ordinary porcelain body and a coating of huashi clay, which gives the same effect.

Distinguishing characteristics of soft paste include:
-a more opaque body (translucency), but it may not always seem entirely consistent
-when chipped soft paste porcelain exhibits a granular interior, rather than one that is glassy
-granular porous body, not completely melted
-glaze not fully fused with body due to 2 firing rounds, more are required if overglazed enamels are used
-overglaze enamels tend to sink in the glaze
-feels warm in the hand
-glaze may be runny and may pool in crevices of carved features or the interiors of foot-rims
-glazed surface has a tendency have body-cracks (because of low fusion), but this can be controlled to provide a non-cracking or non-crazed surface
-glaze has a more creamy-white color
-glazed surface is slightly porous
-an absorbency of the fired body which can be seen as staining under the glaze from use and/or exposure to the elements
-there is a tendency to have finer quality underglaze blue designs or drawings due to a superior adhesion to the porcelain surface


« Last Edit: January 22, 2013, 09:56:24 am by rpfstoneman » Report Spam   Logged

Charll K Stoneman, Eureka, California USA, Collector Since 1979.

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« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2012, 07:46:43 am »

Charll,
     Thank you for all that information. Can you give sources for it, so I can study further?

     I had been under the impression that the difference between hard paste (true) porcelain and soft paste porcelain, was that the hard paste was 90% kaolin clay, and 10% petuntse, a calcium carbonate mineral discovered by the Chinese almost 800 years ago (ie.,ca. 1200 CE), while the soft paste was 100% kaolin, and it contracted and expanded differently than the glazing, thus causing the crackling. I was not aware that you could get soft paste without crackling.

      Dr. Steven Little, at the time Asian Art curator at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, in Hawaii (now the Honolulu Museum of Arts, since they discovered 87% of visitors to Hawaii thought the HAA was an art school!), was the one who told me what I've summarised above, when we were looking at the Idemitsu Museum collection of Yuan & Ming Blue & White Ceramics, then on loan to the HAA (Nov./Dec.1989). However, I could have misunderstood his explanation.

      I've indeed heard that soft paste porcelain was invented during the Kangxi reign (1661-1722), which would agree more with your information then mine.
   
    In any event, facinating information and a beautiful bottle. I think it is post 1950s, but would have bought it myself. A beautiful little bottle! Congratulations. Hate the stopper, though.
Shabbat Shalom,
Joey
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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2012, 12:17:35 pm »

Joey,

It pains  Wink me that you don't like the stopper, because of the time and effort I put into it.  The bottle actually came without a stopper and I made up three different ones from antique buttons.  Donna even said this was not the best one I made, but this one showed off the double blue lines below the mouth the best.

Post 1950's!  I think I would tend to agree, for I have not seen this form in older snuff bottles.  The interesting thing though it is a most practical form for use as a snuff bottle with easy access to the full interior by a spoon and ease of cleaning.  The other thing with this particular bottle is the "feel in the hand".  This is the best feeling bottle I have seen so far from my experience.  The warm waxy smoothness that is generated as you handle it is a wonder feeling.  It's like a silk heating pad!

Charll  
« Last Edit: December 29, 2012, 12:58:20 pm by rpfstoneman » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2012, 07:24:04 am »

Thanks Charll,

A very informative post. I have never quite understood what the different processes entail. Part of the problem is the terminology: 'soft' and 'hard'. Are you saying that all soft paste porcelain is fired twice (second time for the glaze), while hard paste fuses the glaze better by only being fired once?

Tom
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« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2012, 06:26:04 pm »

Charll,
   Press the mouth of the bottle onto paper, and trace it, thereby adding a tiny bit to the mouth. Send it to me, and I'll try to find a lapis lazuli cabochon and a black collar, from my stock of stoppers, which will suit better, IMHO.
Joey
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« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2013, 12:42:06 am »


All,

In regard to the blue and white bottle with the dragon and tiger, Joey appears to be correct in the aspect of yin and yang symbology.  According to Terese Tse Bartholomew in ‘Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art’, the tiger is one of the oldest protectors of China.  When teamed with dragon is represents the ‘Yin and Yang’ guardians used in protecting palaces as well as tombs. 

Charll
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« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2013, 01:27:32 am »


Are you saying that all soft paste porcelain is fired twice (second time for the glaze), while hard paste fuses the glaze better by only being fired once?


Charll,
    Another post from Joey came in after mine, so not sure you spotted my question. Would like some clarification....!
Tom
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« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2013, 01:40:18 am »

Tom,

Will have to go back an check my notes, but this does seem to be the case with the initial glazing phase as I recall.  Any over enameling would require an additional firing or firings regardless of whether it is soft or hard paste porcelain.

Charll  
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« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2013, 01:45:41 am »

Thanks Charll. Noted
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