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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
October 18, 2018, 03:18:13 pm
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Blue & White Porcelain Bottles

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YT
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« Reply #80 on: October 28, 2015, 12:47:12 am »

Dear George,

I share your perplexity. The paintings and bottle shapes are all out.

Cheers,
YT
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« Reply #81 on: October 28, 2015, 06:17:26 am »

Dear Steve,
I donít know what to do with your bottles. All them are strange, I mean all them has something out of what is commonly seen. The first one has a very strange looking foot., besides the very blurred decoration. Same notes for the second one. The decoration of the third one is absolutely strange, never seen a butterfly painted that way and the same I must say for the leaves and flowers. The same for the last one. All in all it is evident to me that all them belongs from the same manufacture, so the fact that you found them together is highly suspicious to me. But I am not very expert on snuff bottles, may be others will think different.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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Peter Bentley 彭达理
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« Reply #82 on: October 28, 2015, 06:57:22 am »

Hi Steve, All

I  am stepping  into   uncharted   territory here  and  am therefore  ready to  be  refuted

But  when I   was   first  buying    Chinese  artefacts  in  BJ  in the  mid  1980s  at specialist   shops  in LiuLiChang  I noticed  an interesting  thing. 

I had my  eye  on a  particular  small vase - beautiful  purple  glazing -  but the  price  was  astronomical.
When I asked  "why" so expensive it was  pointed  out to me that  it  had a  PRC  government  red seal on the  bottom which  showed that :

a)  it was  a  genuine antique (  Qing  dynasty,  or   something )

b) it  was  permitted  for  export

I could  in no  way afford  it !

But I  later  saw  similar  bottles of  (apparently)  identical  -  or  even better -  quality  and  beauty   which  were  contemporary  and of  course  very  cheap, one of  which  I bought  because  I  always  ever bought  for intrinsic  beauty,  not  for  historic  or  antique  value

It's   easy to  reproduce   porcelain  these  days  and  also the  authenticating   marks  on the  bottom, just  as it's  easy  to  reproduce  antique  IPBs  that  would   fool  even the  most  experienced  collector .  That''s  why  "Provenance is  King"  when  it  comes to   antique  IPBs

I  can  believe that the blue and   white   porcelain  snuff  bottles  Richard  Hardy  picked  up  in HK's   Catte  Street  flea  markets  were  genuine  antiques  because  they  left  China  before   1949 , went through  several changes  of  hands  and  finally  were sold  as  trinkets  before  their  true  collector  value  was  understood

As I understand  it :  Richard  Hardy built  his  collection  on just a   school  teacher's  salary because  he   collected  ahead  of time

But....  as  I    said  ...  I am  in uncharted  territory as  far as  my own knowledge  on  porcelain is  concerned

Cheers

Peter
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« Reply #83 on: October 28, 2015, 10:16:24 am »

Dear Peter,

  You are partially correct, but most experienced collectors can easily tell the difference between original period pieces and modern copies; ask Giovanni, Charll, Tom B., etc., at least 'live'.
   Who is Richard Hardy?  I don't know anyone named Richard Hardy. Is he a member of the Forum?
Joey
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« Reply #84 on: October 28, 2015, 10:21:32 am »

Do you mean you like the pair of jars?  Melon shaped jars are nice,  these are the crudest ones I have,  but the only pair.  Pairs of non-imperial porcelain are exceedingly rare to find as they were used by ordinary people,  I never saw a pair except these. 
Steve
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« Reply #85 on: October 28, 2015, 10:31:56 am »

When I got these snuff bottles at a Beijing antique dealer around 1999,   I showed them to an expert in non-imperial porcelain and she said they were old, meaning Qing or thereabouts, but not new fakes.  I got them because of the gourd shape and they are nice looking.  In the 1990s non-imperial porcelain was very reasonably priced and not so forged as the real thing was so cheap, forgers were focused on the higher priced imperial porcelain.
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« Reply #86 on: October 28, 2015, 11:07:46 am »

Dear Steve,
when I did post my comment I had also write that the fact that you bought them in China is a further reason for being suspicious. This is almost a rule for porcelain ware,  but I donít know if that is valid for snuff bottles too, so before posting I did cancel that sentence. Now Peter gave me the chance for reiterating that.
Dear Peter, I have not seen that particular vase, but if the seller did ask a very high price for something that have the red seal that is ridiculous. The meaning of those seals is just to certificate that the item is not so old, not important, and then can be exported. Finish. Nothing more than that. So indeed it should detract value from the item rather than adding value to it.
Dear Steve, I am not so excited about your jars. Today in China it is more easy to find genuine porcelain because a lot of things went back home, but in 1990 it was not so common. The fact that you said that you have seen there 50 jars of this type of jars is highly suspicious. I am not saying that your jar are knew, but they can easily be 19th century Fujian ware. I am also not sure that they were a pair. Ming jars of this type has about the same decoration and, besides having in general a finer decoration, they have all the same size. Usually they bear a key-fret band around the neck, while the neck of your jars looks quite unusual.
I may be wrong though, a direct handling should leave no doubt because Ming glaze is very typical and easy to spot.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #87 on: October 28, 2015, 01:22:14 pm »

Giovanni,
I saw about 50 melon shaped jars between 1994 and 2005.  I went to all the markets almost every week and also looked in Shanghai and Fujian.   They are pretty rare,  not super rare,  but in the main BJ market (which started as the original dirt market) you might find 1-2 pieces in the 100 stalls/shops at any given time including broken, repaired or crude ones.   In the beginning I would take jars to the old guy at the Friendship Store who authorized export if less than 200 years old.  After a couple times of him telling me "No export allowed", I asked him: "are these Ming?"  And all he would say was "they were over 200 years old".  That old guy had seen a lot in his many years of authorizing antique exports.

Melon jars with the "three gentlemen" 松竹梅 pattern,  the squirrels on melons and thin figures were only done in Wanli reign.  Once I bought an outstanding larger sized jar and took it to a porcelain expert at the National Palace Museum,  she said she was not sure.  I returned it to the seller and he laughed at me, gave me my $1,400 back (in 1996),  a few years later,  I was looking for him at the market and his friends told me he was killed in a car accident.  When I said I returned that nice melon jar, they all laughed at me,  insisting it was genuine and by that time worth several times over and very hard to come by. 

In ten years I only saw a few really high quality melon jars.  Unless you deal in non-imperial porcelain,  you probably do no have a feel for this stuff.  Seeing hundreds or thousands of non-imperial B&W porcelain over those ten years gave me a good feel what to look for.
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« Reply #88 on: October 28, 2015, 03:50:23 pm »

Dear Steve,
I donít know how much expert you are about Chinese porcelain. By the fact that you said that you are buying in China since so many years I presume that you are Chinese. I know a certain number of Chinese guys that deals with Antiques here in Italy. Some are experts, some (many indeed) not at all. The fact that one is Chinese doesnít necessarily means that he is an expert. Sorry to be frank, but it seems to me that you have some attitude which is very similar to that of some Chinese guys here. Quoting from you: ďUnless you deal in non-imperial porcelain, ÖĒ: you repeatedly said this. It seems that in your view, it is more common that people deals with Imperial porcelain than with non-Imperial porcelain. How many people you know that deals with Imperial porcelain? I am aware of only a few in the World. There are Chinese guys here who thinks that Imperial porcelain can be find anywhere, in perfect conditions, and at a low price. And, if it has just a short hairline, it is worth nothing more than rubbish.  It is a rule, among collectors of Chinese porcelain, to strictly avoid buying at street Antique markets when visiting China, and especially that famous one in Beijing! Where it seems that you are buying. The fact that a piece is broken doesnít imply that it is genuine. Fakers knows their job very well.  Now I can accept that some good item may appear in those markets, but frankly, let me say that if you believe of having seen hundreds of thousands of genuine items there, well, you are a bit too much optimist, sorry. And, if you think that the employee who is charged to license the pieces allowed to be exported is an expert only because he has seen a lot of pieces, here too you are optimist in my opinion. Which is his study? He is learning nothing by just seeing many pieces without the support of a specific study. If he were a real expert, maybe he could have a more remunerative job I think. For what I know, mainland Chinese are buying Chinese Antiquities, not selling abroad, if not in rare cases. If you have something good to sell, you will get more money in China than abroad, donít you think so? Who, among Westerners, is buying Chinese porcelain on Ebay China? Nobody, be sure, everybody knows that everything coming from there is fake. As for the purpose of the wax seal, here it is explained in detail:
http://www.gotheborg.com/marks/jianding.shtml
Dear Steve I really apologize if I got a wrong opinion, but I have been driven there by what you said together with my experience. If I have been wrong, I am happy.
Would you mind to show some of your porcelain pieces?
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #89 on: October 28, 2015, 06:19:06 pm »

Hi  All

JOEY  :  Sorry  I meant  Ian Hardy !

GIOVANNI :  Thanks  for the  info  about the  red seals !

As I wrote  before,  I'm  completely  out  of my depth  on porcelain

I had  better  shut up  and  listen ( read)  what others  have to say  Cheesy

Cheers
Peter
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« Reply #90 on: October 28, 2015, 10:14:32 pm »

Dear Peter,
   Sorry! I did not connect this info to Ian Hardy. You are right, Ian Hardy has a very good eye, and bought some very nice pieces from the late Robert Kleiner, though I have never seen his collection. Today, I showed Ian and Kay the Ando Gallery at the Art Institute of Chicago, which is a meditation space and very 'shibui'.
    Ian had shown me the Rothko chapel in Houston's Menil Collection museum.
Joey




Hi  All

JOEY  :  Sorry  I meant  Ian Hardy !

GIOVANNI :  Thanks  for the  info  about the  red seals !

As I wrote  before,  I'm  completely  out  of my depth  on porcelain

I had  better  shut up  and  listen ( read)  what others  have to say  Cheesy

Cheers
Peter
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #91 on: October 29, 2015, 02:36:07 pm »

Dear Giovanni,
I am an American, not a Chinese.  I lived in Taiwan for 11 years and then Beijing for 15 years 1993-2008, and know Chinese.

I collected non-imperial porcelain as it was much cheaper and more available than Imperial porcelain.  I find the late Ming B&W non-imperial porcelain to be very light and fresh, clean and simple.  In the 1990s and especially the earlier part of that decade,  not many Chinese were buying any antiques or art in the Mainland. 
My jar collection is at my Dad's house in Chicago, i do not carry them around as we move every 2-3 years.  Next summer when I get home I will take pictures.  All of mine are melon shaped Ming jars.  It was easier to become knowledgeable when you focus on one narrow genre like melon shaped jars.  I know about fakes in China as I have paid some tuition in this area since 1975.  They are everywhere in every genre. 

Thanks for your advice,
Steve 
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« Reply #92 on: October 29, 2015, 05:41:23 pm »

Dear Steve,
I am glad that you took my words in the right way, I was afraid that you may feel offended because I was so straightforward.  I was surprised of how easily you talk about Imperial porcelain. In many years of collecting/hunting, I have only see a very few ones here.
Melon shaped Ming jars are not common too. I think that I have seen only one or two.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #93 on: October 30, 2015, 01:17:17 pm »

Straight, open communication and sharing is what makes this forum great.
Steve C
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« Reply #94 on: May 14, 2016, 10:33:48 pm »


All,

I picked up this bottle at a recent online auction with two other bottles.  Iím try to determine if it is a design of 31 magpies, 31 sparrows, or some other type of bird.  I think it is a sparrow.  Then the next question is there any significance with the number 31?   

Also, I think the dating is a bit later than what was provided with the bottle; see below. 

Underglaze Cobalt Blue Porcelain Snuff Bottle:   
Of cylindrical form, well hollowed with a short waisted cylindrical neck, wide mouth, flat lip and recessed circular foot. Well painted hard-paste body in underglaze blue with a continuous design of thirty 'sparrow' birds; i.e., six columns of five birds each. The base shows a single 'sparrow' sitting near what appears to be a nest. The stopper is carved glass in the form of a dragon with a green glass collar.  Height:  8 cm or 3 1/4" without stopper.

Condition: Excellent.

Circa: Qing Dynasty, Jingdezhen, 1790-1830.

Thanks for all comments and any insight, Charll


* Magpie_1.jpg (48.36 KB, 533x800 - viewed 22 times.)

* Magpie_2.jpg (49.12 KB, 533x800 - viewed 12 times.)

* Magpie_3.jpg (50.38 KB, 533x800 - viewed 21 times.)

* Magpie_4.jpg (48.47 KB, 533x800 - viewed 10 times.)
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« Reply #95 on: May 15, 2016, 12:02:38 am »

Beautiful bottle Charll..

Can not find anything regarding #31, and not sure about the bird type..

Look forward to seeing what others come up with !
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« Reply #96 on: May 15, 2016, 01:25:12 am »

Charll,
A wonderful bottle - congratulations!
In order to have the correct rebus in Chinese the birds ought to be magpies. The 31st bird is usually depicted on the base, as seems to be the case with your example. One of our Chinese forum members will be able to confirm the exact meaning, but it is something along the lines of "may every day of the month be filled with happiness".

There is an anecdote about a man who passed a shop displaying a beautiful porcelain snuff bottle in the window, just like yours. He went inside to inquire about the price, which was astronomic. The shop keeper explained that the reason for the high price was that it was a magic bottle - each day the number of magpies on it would correspond to the day of the month. It happened to be the 10th day of the month, and sure enough, when the customer counted them there were 10 birds on the bottle.
The customer subsequently made a point of passing the shop every day and found there was one more magpie on the bottle on each occasion. Eventually he got to the 31st day of the month, and checked the bottle again. "Aha, I see there are still only 30 birds on the bottle. The magic has failed!"
"Not at all" replied the shop keeper, and turned the bottle upside down to reveal the 31st magpie. 
The customer was convinced of the bottle's magic qualities, and so paid the high asking price.

Of course, what really happened was that the shop keeper had 31 bottles, each with a different number of birds painted on it, and merely changed the bottle in the window over the course of the month.

Tom
PS: This anecdote has been posted on the forum before, a few years back.
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« Reply #97 on: May 15, 2016, 04:56:13 am »

Dear Charll,

     I agree with Tom L. as to the subject matter. Dating I find hard to decide over the 'net.

Best,
Joey
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« Reply #98 on: May 15, 2016, 07:27:58 am »

Dear Charll,
I agree that the birds are magpie, not as we see it in the West, but actually as the Chinese represent it.
Dear Tom, funny story, I remember of having read it before here on the Forum. By Joey maybe?
Dear Joey, do you mean that the bottle could be Ming or Kangxi? I don't think you meant that, in any case I would suggest not to judge the blue tone on the monitor. On my one for example, there are no purplish tone at all.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #99 on: May 15, 2016, 10:14:17 am »

Dear Giovanni,
   
     You are right, I did NOT mean that it could be Kangxi or Ming. I meant that the purply blue tone I saw could be an homage to those periods.
But you are also right that I should not assume that the colour on my iPAD is accurate!
So I will remove that comment.
Thank you for the correction.
Best,
Joey
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