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Bottles with some historical meaning or significance

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Author Topic: Bottles with some historical meaning or significance  (Read 1122 times)
Pat - 查尚杰
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« on: April 09, 2011, 09:19:05 pm »

I apologize ahead of time for the poor pics that will follow, but they are just quick copies for insurance purpose, not display or profiling  Cheesy and heck, I just realized i am EVEN missing/misplaced some of those pics  Angry time to get my affairs straightened out and get all my bottles out of storage in the different places I work/live.  Peter's wonderful L-shaped display case made me envious and kicked my own butt and kickstarted my good intentions.. haha ..

I have a couple of bottles that were made for/gifts to/bribes for some important people in China's history.  To ME, that gives it extra historical value and impact.  In this case, they were probably painted by students etc.. (dont want to get back into THAT thread again LOL).

I am not as much concerned about the maker here or the artistic value but that it places the bottle at an exact place in time for an existing person at that particular time. 

I have some bottles (or copies of  Grin) made for/belonged to/presented to:

Song Zi Wen, the brother in law of Sun Yat Sen, and brother of the famous Song (Soong) sisters, who became the governor of the Central Bank of China in the Republic Period and later the first premier/prime minister.  One sister married Sun Yat Sen, the other sister became Mrs. Chiang Kai Shek.  In this case I have 3 bottles, one when he was still 'becoming important', one when he was Governor of the Bank of China, and one when he was Prime Minister of the Republic of China.

Li Da Zhen, one of the top famous Beijing opera singers

Chen Yan Qui, one of the founders of the communist party of China, who was later assasinated by one of the Northern Warlords.  Interesting note is that this person was very close to and one time worked with Chairman Mao.

I obviously can't authenticate or vouch for the maker, authenticity, but the dates and timing, titles and places sure match.  This information would not have been able to been gathered easily before the digital and information age.  Another thought crossed my mind about the Mao Shao Xuan bottle that Peter referred to (the one that showed up later at Eldreds).  IF this was indeed a real MSX then it was shoddy work and then... just maybe.. some of the things in my collection are truly MSX (wishful thinking.. haha... ).  Even if these historical bottles are copies of real works, I am thrilled to have them!

I need a long vacation to gather and assemble my bottled and take DECENT photographs... But I am getting increasingly worried about people taking these pictures and just copying them based on all the comments made earlier and then throwing more copies/fakes/forgeries on the market :-(


I include some 'bad' pics of some of the bottles .. but something better than nothing, right?




* 18a.jpg (89.29 KB, 802x768 - viewed 44 times.)

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* 20a.jpg (101.59 KB, 744x768 - viewed 28 times.)

* 20b.jpg (78.31 KB, 712x768 - viewed 33 times.)

* 27b.jpg (58.11 KB, 529x768 - viewed 28 times.)
« Last Edit: April 20, 2011, 12:38:16 am by Bottle Guy » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2011, 11:05:36 pm »

Hi Pat,

Wow that's  really interesting.  Never  ever heard  before  of   anyone  collecting  bottles  given to  famous  Chinese  people in their lifetimes.  That's a  whole  different  kind of  collecting theme . And also  the  bottles  you have must  be  unique in a double sense.   Where  did you  get them  from Huh  I can't  imagine such bottles  are availaible  anywhere  except  in auctions of  private collections.

One  point that   struck  me  early  on when collecting is that  every  collector  has  his own special  "theme" .  For  me:  it's  Chinese  landscape  scenes ( plus a  few  spiders, cats and  birds).  Bill, I  know, among other mny other   themes specialises  in   copies of  modern Chinese  oil paintings. I bought  a couple from  his  "excess"  collection of these   types  of bottles  a few years ago  : beautiful ! , but incredibly difficult to photograph  without  reflections, because some parts  of the paintings  are  very  dark, and the painting  fills  every part of the  bottle  so that you  cannot see  any unpainted   bare   glass.  Bill's    fanastic website  shows all  the  different  themes  he  has collected  and it's  worthwhile to   do some serious  browsing of his website . ( I  studied  Bill's collection  in great detail  when I  first   got serious  about  collecting  and  downloaded  every single  pic  at  hi- res: there's no better  way to study   someone's  collection than to   watch the pic  appear over  2  -3  minutes as it slowly  downloads.   It took me  about  one week to do  it . )  . The  HK collector  Horace  Wong   who has over  1,500  bottles  collects, inter alia , bottles  about  Sun Yatsen and  Princess  Diana

So, probably,  even  when this   forum  attracts  many more   participants , I   bet  that  there will be very little  overlap of  themes  ( and  if  two collectors  do happen to  have  exactly the  same  theme  I   bet   even more  that they  will   soon be   exchanging excited  private emails  !  Smiley  ) That  leads to  great  possibilities  for exchange and  barter, because  supposing  you, Pat, happen to have a  spider   pic bottle  that  you once  bought   by chance that  you were  never   particularly fond of,  and I   happened to  have a  historical   bottle  that  I once   bought by chance  and that  I'm not particularly fond of, we could  simply do an exchange. And for  those  of us   trolling  round    China  regularly  as  you and  I do,   we could  look out for  each other  . BTW :   next time  we are both in SH I must  introduce  you  to the  boutique bottle shop I frequent   near the  Yu Gardens , if  you  don't already  know if it .  I have  picked  up  some  gems  there   because the  Manageress, Ms  Wong,  has a secret  bottom  drawer of  goodies   for the  " discerning  collector"  and   she  also  some very  good  sources  in  Hengshui , particularly    via  Da Yong .  ( That's where I  picked up my   two   Yi  Ding/ Nei Lei  1000x  character bottles, and that's   how  I  know they are  genuine  because   Ms  Wong personally  knows   Nei Lei and  has sold  me several other bottles  by  him  in other themes)
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« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2011, 03:41:13 am »

Peter,

Cool!  You are telling me something new, I dont know the place (at least I dont think so), it does not ring a bell.  But I might be able to introduce you to a cool sat/sun indoor market in the same area, if you dont know it yet ;-) ... there used to also be a huge outdoor streetside flea market with small vendors from allover near Sh and as far away as Zheijang in that general area where I would regularly (not every weekend though) find something worth my while.  I lived a short 15 min walk away at the time.  They have closed it down since end 2008 because of the 'scenic' impact on Sh 2010 Expo huhum,...  sad sad ...

Three of the bottles I talked about were bought 2004/2005 from an old Suzhou antique/dealer and bottle collector who has since passed away and his belongings scattered allover the collecting world.   He had some incredible carved stone bottles to die for but way outside my price appetite and wallet.  You know the claim to fame of Suzhou carvings!!  I was lucky enough to trade/partial buy some (very nice) glass overlay and porcelain he liked more than I did.. and so it goes.  He had about 200 inside painted bottles, at least 50 (!) of which I was hoping to slowly and softly buy/trade/pry away.  He did not show them in his shop, so I thought I had a fighting chance to succeed, but it just did not work out that way.  I left for SH in 2007 and he died right about that time.   I found another one in a small village in Anhui, of all places... I love going to the countryside but in our collecting taste there is not much left of value in the IPSB world.  Once in a great while, but that makes it all the more fun.
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« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2011, 03:55:10 am »

Just maybe one more add-on comment to the IPSBs found in the Chinese countryside.  Contrary to specialists and expert's theories and popular belief, many of the IPSB bottles I have picked up outside the big cities have traces of snuff inside them, either caked on due to moisture conditions or still in powder form, so I believe that the 'masses' or 'poorer' folk actually also used these for snuff consumption/storage.  Apparently snuff kept on being used in the countryside until right about the Japanese invasion, in regardless which kind of container.  And somehow glass, even painted glass must have been as affordable a some of the porcelain bottles, or so I deduce.  I cringe at the idea of this happening to a 'master' painted bottle, but hey.. the evidence is there, at least in a few dozen of my bottles.  It could have happened to any bottle, I guess... What a frightening thought, imagine finding a genuine  ZLY bottle with scratch marks and cleaning damage. OUCH!!!  Shocked
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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2011, 06:17:40 am »

Hey  Pat, that's   really cool   !  Antique  shops  in Suzhou !  Actually  I was  in Suzhou  a  year ago and    walked  down   the antique  shop street  but  saw  nothing. I  also   once    investigated  HK's  Cat Street  flea  market but also  found  nothing.  I think  Cat Street  was picked   clean   many   decades  ago by serious  collectors  so all you  can find  now in  the few  HK  antique  shops   that also sell  bottles are good  quality  antique  bottles  at  high prices  ( there  are   4  - 5  such  shops  along  Hollywood  Road)  .  But,  there's a retired    dealer  in HK  called  Mr Tai  ( Hop Wah).  Bill introduced him to  me. He's a very  kindly  man, and  used to  have a  bottle   shop  in the   Kowloon  Hotel ( I actually  do  remember it   fro  20  years ago)  . Now   he  just  has a very small office  where  he  has the  remains  of his  stock  - about 100 +   bottles . I  have been   there a few times  and  found   a few  rare  old  landscape  bottles, including even a   Dong Kun  . Mr Tai  only asked  for the  original  price  on the  bottom  dating from 15 years  ago - and even then  gave  me a   30%  discount ! -  so I picked  up a   few real  bargains , although  I have to say that   only  a couple  were  really beautiful  bottles. If you   are ever  in HK  I can  introduce  you  to Mr  Tai,  and   depending  on what  your preferred  themes  are   you might  find a  few  gems  ( there  were  still  a lot of  very old bottles  left on his  shelves that  I  was not interested  in because they were  not  landscapes)

I attach a  pic  of  Ms  Wang  Hong  in SH  ( she's the  lady on the  left  : the   tall attractive girl  on the right  is her    assistant)   . She used to be in one  of  the  Yu Garden    arcades  . but    she was evicted  when they renovated the  arcade  2 years  ago  and now  she  has a   little   shop in one  of the  side streets  on the edge of the  Yu  Garden  shopping area.    A  few shops  further  down is a  lovely little   wood carving shop which  also sells  beautiful little  wooden  stands  of which I have bought   a couple  of  hundred  because I find it's safer to  stick my bottles   with  blue-tac  onto  a  stand  than   let them  stand  on the   glass  shelves  in my cabinets .  Look  forward to  when we can next  meet in SH  !
BTW  :   where is  your  place in SH ?  I  always  use the Galaxy  because  our  office  is  opposite the Yangtze Jiang  Hotel  in Hongqiao.  

Cheers  Peter  @ HK


* s Bottle Shop SH.jpg (103.41 KB, 480x640 - viewed 33 times.)

* Very Cool wooden stands.JPG (36.6 KB, 448x336 - viewed 19 times.)
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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2011, 08:10:40 am »

Ms Wang seems nice and the bottle stands are great but the girl is cuter! Does she come painted on a bottle?  Grin Wink sorry folks.. a little humor on a sunday evening.  Have a good monday all!
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2011, 08:19:02 am »

Ms Wang seems nice and the bottle stands are great but the girl is cuter!

Agreed !  Grin
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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2011, 03:18:05 pm »

Gee, I take off hiking for a few days (and of course a new arch Peter) and you guys have made a ton of post for me to catch up on.

Interesting story on the historically significant bottles Pat. I have seen quite a few bottles with dedications to historic persons and bearing the signatures of famous painters as well.  Unfortunately all of them were fakes in heavy glass bottles with what appeared to be overlay glass framing and decoration, usually black, which I think was somehow molded with the original bottle. The ones in your pictures however, are different.  Wouldn't it be great if bottles told their own story. I have two which have inconsistent writing (i.e. studio names and dates don't agree) that have a very unique painting style for which I would love to have a story. I suppose part of the intrigue of this collecting is the detective work we have to do. Right Peter? (Spiderman...).

While any of you are out and about, let me know if you stumble into any Cultural Revolution bottles. Perhaps this interests me most because that was my first real introduction to China via Radio Peking many years ago.
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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2011, 06:14:54 pm »

Hi Bill  Smiley    Cheesy

Yes  , you  will   have a  ton to  catch up  on   ! This   forum is really  great fun .   I  spent  over an hour  last night   chatting  on line with Patriek and  I'm going to  order some books from Richard, who  it turns  out also  knows  Jill  very well.
Hope the  hike  goes  well.  My replacement  knee is  recovering  so maybe  we can make that trip   you once suggested  in China  looking at  arch-like  places  after  I retire  in a  couple  of years   Smiley

Back to  antique  bottles :

Pat  : when I    first started  collecting  I once bought    what I thought  was  an  antique  bottle  at a  very good  price  from a  Guangzhou  antique shop in the  tourist area   by the  White Swan hotel .  It  was sort  of   darkish  yellow  glass  and   faded  - a  very  detailed ancient  Chinese street scene . I asked  Bill  for advice and  he warned  me about  fake  antiques   and that  - incredibly -  some fake bottles  are actually a  transfer  stuck  on the  inside  of the  bottle ! Don't ask me  how  they  do that  : seems  more    difficult than actually painting inside. Anyway, I checked the   bottle   carefully, and sure  enough there  were  some  tiny  places  where the  transfer  had peeled  off  showing the   clear  glass.   Caveat   emptor  !  Having said that, it was  nothing like the   old  bottles   you  sent me pics  of   last night , which   obviously  are  truly inside  painted,  and  also  obviously very old judging from the  painting  styles.   Just that    you don't know  who painted them  ( yet  ) . Probably  Jill's  husband, Li Hui, in  BJ  can give  you  an opinion if  you  bring  them  for him to  examine.
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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2011, 09:00:18 pm »

Yes, Bill and Peter, I have seen my share of fake bottles, although the ones posted here in this thread for sure are not... copies they well might be (although I dont even think that). They are student bottles in my opinion (for sure on the ZLY, the one where I only found the back pic) or in best case lower-grade commercial MSX or student/Ma Guangyu who signed a lot of work as MSX (first example) and Ye Studio students (second example signed Ye Zhongsan). The pics dont do the items justice.

On the transfers you both refer to... yes, there is some electrical process that allows a outline in grey/black to be posted inside the bottles.  See examples below. I dont have good copies of the pics (they are taken from internet) but I have seen the types of bottles in question first hand

The transfers are amazingly done although they are done by electrolysis or some process, not transfers as Peter referred to (this type I have never seen but told they exist).  These bottles are then sold either blank grey/black tone, with some colour, or better colour.  Some are actually hand painted in different qualities once the outline is there.   One of the give aways is the lack of variety in lines (absence of stroke marks) AND the impossible straight lines achieved in the process.   I have seen some incredibly straight lines in IPSB but these defy logic and skill.  Have a look at one of the sellers of these bottles and look at the variety of items he has (plain grey/black, some color, more color).  They can easily fool non-informed buyers, but the starting prices give it ALL away even to the least knowledgeable folk.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150589705662&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

In this example you can actually see the failed process of the electrolytic transfer (like burn marks).  I cant understand how EVEN this process can be cost-effective, but they are out there in droves...

Finally, the bottles Bill refers to in heavy glass, dark color, overlay .. some of them are terrible, others not bad, and I am at a loss to try and understand how they are made.  If pics processed before dipping for overlay and carving, then this seems a lengthy process, even if they are molded which they dont look like. If overlayed before the pics applied, then it seems very complex.  I would love to know, see and learn how they make these bottles.  I actually have some exquisite hand carved bottles that I suspect where the pics/paintings have been 'handled this way but the bottles are super nice and high quality glass.  A mystery it will remain until someone shares more about the process.


* ViewImage2.jpg (12.49 KB, 400x300 - viewed 23 times.)

* ViewImage.jpg (12.03 KB, 400x300 - viewed 17 times.)
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« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2011, 10:44:53 pm »

Hi Pat, 

Very  interesting !  Not  sure  how  an outline  could be  deposited  via  electrolysis  because  glass  is an insulator, but I take  your  word  for it.  But what  is certain is that :   (a)  The  dozens  of   factories in Hengshui    turning  out   tourist  class  bottles  by the  thousands/ day   do achieve some  incredibly well painted  bottles  at  unbelievably  low prices . I have never  been inside  such a factory, but I  suspect they use  some  kind of   production  line  :  Miss A  does  the outline,    Mr B  does the  red,   Miss C does the  blue  etc   . I once  went to a  small  cloisonne   workshop  near  BJ and that's how they  did the  final  painting. But even these  bottles   must have a  base  price   ex- factory price: not  sure what  it is  but  it cannot  be  less than    2 -3  USD    (b) the low   prices  on ebay are the give away.   Even the  lowest    grade   student   semi- professional  artist  needs   RMB2,000    rock bottom  to survive on.  Assuming   he can  turn out 4  bottles per week (   I   guess  actually  2 per  week   is   the  real  limit )  that means  he needs  to  sell  at  RMB2,000  /  16 =  RMB  125  = USD20 / bottle.  Then  there's the  mark-ups  by the    runners  who buy  the bottles in Hengshui from the artists  and the  final    shop/ dealer,  which  probably  trebles the price.  Ergo :  anything selling  at less  than USD60   is   factory  grade.   I reckon that  RMB125 / USD20  benchmark  is  accurate  because  in  Wang Xisan's     Hengshui   Museum/ shop  that's the lowest price  for   any of  the  low- grade  student  bottles  , and  I think that Wang Xuisan's   shop only  makes a modest  mark-up  : max  50%,   certianly  not  300%    Go up one  grade to an upcoming   artist   earning  RMB4,000/ month and   painting  one   good bottle/ week  =  RMB1,000  =  USD150  / bottle. But  here the  mark-up  is not  so big because the  dealer  ( in China )   to whom the  artist  sells  directly   only makes about   40 - 50 %  profit   so that   RMB 1,000  bottle  would sell for  RMB 1,666 -2000 =  USD  260 - 320 (  I define  profit   %  as [profit] / [selling  price]  ,  not as  [profit] / [buying price]  )  .

But still,  beauty  is  in the  eye of the beholder .  Last week  when   at  CAC  in HK   looking  at   this month's  visiting     top artist's  latest     collection  for sale  at  prices   in the  range USD 2 - 10 K,  I  saw a  beautiful  little   high-grade tourist bottle  with  a funny  pen  name   "Bing Bing"     for only  USD  160  that I could  buy  after discount  for  USD100.  In fact I think  I will  buy it  next time  I go to CAC  if it  is still there  because  it was so  pretty. ( It will make a nice  gift to someone)

Then there's  a story  the CAC   manager  told  me .  Huang San is   among the  current  top   modern painters  and  his  works are   collected  world  wide.  They sell for  USD2 -6 K  and  last time  he was  at  CAC  he sold   about  USD100K   of bottles  in  the month he  was there.    But  apparently    when Huang San  started   coming  to  CAC  a few  years   ago   as artist-of-the-month   he  pointed  out that some of the  high-grade  tourist  bottles  that   had been   on CAC's  shelves  unsold for    several  years  had  actually been  painted  by  himself in his  student  days  when  he  was  required to    turn out a  certain quota of bottles/ week .  The bottles  were unsigned, but  they were  genuine  " student  Huang San"   

And  I am  sure   that  from time to  time  someone   really finds a  stache  of  old  Chinese  memorabilia that their    grandfather  had collected  in China before the  war , among which are  a   few  bottles  whose  value they have no idea about so they  just put them  on ebay  at a low price  to see what  happens.   

These are just a  few odd thoughts your  chain  sparked

Cheers, Peter  @  HK  PS  : On the  " straight line " matter, I will   start another  chain - it's very interesting !
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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2011, 11:02:40 pm »


http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150589705662&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

In this example you can actually see the failed process of the electrolytic transfer (like burn marks).  I cant understand how EVEN this process can be cost-effective, but they are out there in droves...
.

Can't believe you picked these particular bottles out as examples !

When I saw one of the first one of these that this seller posted, I ended up bidding on it ... After bidding, I began to notice the same seller posting a few other of the same bottles.

I knew when first bidding that it looked just like some of the bottles we talked about in another thread as being transfer type images.

For what ever reason.. I let myself get sucked into this one ...  Cheesy


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« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2011, 11:16:37 pm »

Hi George,

That first   stained  bottle  you   listed  on the  linked  posting  was  just like  the  "antique" I bought  in GZ   a  few  years  ago

Cheers  Peter @  HK
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« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2011, 11:38:22 pm »

Haha.. I guess electolysis is NOT the right word or answer (i am not an engineer) but there is some process out there that allows them to set this up assembly line AFTER the transfer/pic/whatever it is .. but you get my point.  I have set of 8-9 not so bad looking, processed and later painted over bottles of this process that I will sell at some point that I acquired with calligraphy that is not bad at all (or so I thought at the time, long ago).  Only problem is that the calligraphy was flowed over into the neck of the bottle, and clearly stemming from the process we discuss here .  No self-respecting artist would have done that or bothered to take the time.  But the bottles really are not bad, even held in the light.  You can see the grey/black detail well-painted over.  These are of much higher quality than any of have ever seen.  And the cost of it all is what puzzles me being a business process improvement consultant. 

Also curious as to your straight line story ;-)

You have got to get the Bing Bing bottle just for the heck of it! What a coincidence especially if you like it. 
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Pat
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Peter Bentley 彭达理
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« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2011, 07:44:08 am »

Hi  Pat  Smiley

Yes  methinks I will  get the  'Bing Bing'  bottle  if it's   still there  next time  I'm at CAC. 

BTW:   I agree  Ms  Wang's assistant  is  cute  - very  cute, especially  in  her summer  shorts !

And  she's not  married...!   Shocked

I could  fall  her myself  if I did not  have my  own  lovely   BingBing  ( Shhhhhhhhh  !)    Wink
 
Seriously  :  Ms  Wang    and  her assistant    are both very  genuine  and warm hearted  people. You will  like  them both . But I warn you  Ms Wang is a  hard  bargainer  because  she has to make a  living

Cheers  Peter @ HK
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