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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
October 21, 2017, 07:47:40 pm
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Crystal Clear

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Author Topic: Crystal Clear  (Read 3815 times)
Wattana
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« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2013, 10:03:08 pm »

Hi everyone,
    Yesterday (5 Dec) was a public holiday in Thailand, and I did not even open the computer for 36 hours, so missed all the comments. Thanks everyone for your kind words on the first bottle in this thread. And I must apologize again for the poor photos, which don't do it proper justice.
    Yes, "shibui" exactly describes this bottle, as well as my collecting taste in general. There seems to be no equivalent in Chinese; "elegant simplicity" will have to do.
    Whenever I post a bottle on the forum I leave out the dating, for two reasons. First, with most bottles it is a largely subjective matter, made by experts, who often change their minds when some new piece of information comes to light. Secondly, there seems to be a general consensus on this forum that a bottle should be judged on its own merits irrespective of age. And to that end, we have seen some superbly made modern bottles on other threads.
    Anyway, since Joey has "gone out on a limb", raising the possibility that this bottle could be as early as 1680, I will give you the dates that came with it when I acquired it in the 1990s: 1730-1850. For what its worth you will agree that is a very wide range, covering all bases. Maybe in time, with more 'expertise', we will be able to narrow that down, but maybe not.

Giovanni,
    If you ever get a chance to hold this bottle in your hands (which I hope you will) you will know instantly that it is quartz and not glass. Remember Joey's 'cheek' test?  Cool

Richard,
    I love your smoky quartz bottle, it being one of my favourite materials. In fact, one of the first bottles I ever bought, back in 1974, is a plain smoky quartz similar to yours.


Tom     
« Last Edit: December 05, 2013, 10:06:48 pm by Wattana » Report Spam   Logged

Tom
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« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2013, 12:26:07 am »

This bottle was purchased in the early 1970s, when most people had no idea what a snuff bottle was. I found it in a small shop selling antique bric-a-brac in London's Portobello Road. In the shop window was a small group of rock crystal items: a small dish and bowl, a miniature teapot, and this bottle. It was without a stopper, and the shop owner described it as 'probably a scent bottle'. On its base was an original old acquisition or auction lot number (42), which I have left in place, adding mine alongside it.

Description: Rock crystal snuff bottle of rounded rectangular form, with cylindrical neck, concave lip, and broad rectangular footrim with recessed base; the flawless clear material evenly hollowed and well finished inside and out, with tao'tie mask and ring handles carved in relief at the shoulders. Green jade stopper with black collar.
Height w/o stopper: 6.5 cm.

Commentary: The flawless, clear rock crystal used here is of a variety sometimes referred to as 'tea crystal' due to a barely perceptible brown tint in the stone. This finely executed bottle has been meticulously hollowed so as to leave an even thickness of material all round, including the difficult to reach corners at the shoulders. Each of the four sides of the rectangular body bows out very slightly at the centre, which softens the strong angular line of the shoulders, and helps lead the eye towards the mask handles.
   The elegant robustness of this bottle is a good example of the lapidary's controlled mastery of his medium, where the result belies the underlying attention that has been paid to its creation. This is in perfect harmony with the Chinese scholarly taste for faultless understatement.
   I would date it to the range: 1800-1880

Enjoy!


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* SB-020c 800w.jpg (198.22 KB, 800x1200 - viewed 21 times.)

* SB-020.1f 800w.jpg (143.42 KB, 800x600 - viewed 26 times.)
« Last Edit: December 06, 2013, 12:32:01 am by Wattana » Report Spam   Logged

Tom
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« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2013, 03:46:47 am »

Tom,

It is a gem you have found ! A beauty indeed.

Inn Bok
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« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2013, 03:52:05 am »

Agreed...
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Pat
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« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2013, 04:58:53 am »

Thanks guys,

This was one of my few lucky finds. Unfortunately, the days of picking up unrecognized 'gems' in flea markets are long gone, although the same may not hold true for inside painted bottles.

Tom
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« Reply #25 on: December 06, 2013, 05:44:22 am »

Tom

Hm... Sorry but I have to strongly disagree with you on the IPB statement.  There is little left that people don't know about with the age of the internet, and there is very little bargain left in IPB.  I recently saw a early Ye Zhong San (the real thing, yes, and dated 1905) in JJ (believe it or not), and the seller knew very well what it was worth.  He was Thai Chinese and obviously could read and research on English and Chinese priced it at 150,000 baht (say 4,500 USD for everyone here). When I asked him how he thought he would sell it at JJ market at that price, his simple reply was that there were plenty Chinese who would think it was a bargain, given how auctions were going, and referred to the Bloch auctions and that he was not in a hurry.   
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« Reply #26 on: December 06, 2013, 05:54:05 am »

I guess you are right - the internet has killed the fun of finding needles in haystacks for everyone.
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Tom
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« Reply #27 on: December 06, 2013, 06:39:11 am »

Dear Pat,
   I must politely disagree. Steven put me onto a Zhang Guangzhong for sale at Eldred's, in April 2012. The estimate was very low, and they had dated the bottle to 1936, instead of 1996 as they should have. Those looking for Middle Period bottles dismissed it as modern; those looking for modern IPSBs, never looked at it. I got it for US$900 inclusive. Real value, at least 10 times that.
  What is "JJ"?

Tom,
   Your first one was superb, as was Inn Bok's bottle; and this one is a stunner as well! 
I also love Tea Crystal (prosaically described as 'Brown Quartz'). A-3 is a bottle by the Ye Family with seated Buddhas front and reverse, from the Martin Schoen collection ("Worlds").

Best,
 Shabbat Shalom,
   Joey



Tom

Hm... Sorry but I have to strongly disagree with you on the IPB statement.  There is little left that people don't know about with the age of the internet, and there is very little bargain left in IPB.  I recently saw a early Ye Zhong San (the real thing, yes, and dated 1905) in JJ (believe it or not), and the seller knew very well what it was worth.  He was Thai Chinese and obviously could read and research on English and Chinese priced it at 150,000 baht (say 4,500 USD for everyone here). When I asked him how he thought he would sell it at JJ market at that price, his simple reply was that there were plenty Chinese who would think it was a bargain, given how auctions were going, and referred to the Bloch auctions and that he was not in a hurry.   
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« Reply #28 on: December 06, 2013, 04:06:41 pm »

Dear all,
what drive me crazy in high end Chinese objects are some subtle details, often very subtle, which give to the object an unparalled elegance. Note for example in Richard's bottle some details at the bottom, which I am highlighting here below. I am referring to the squared corners of the hollowing, see green arrows, and in particular to the fact that the inner and outer bottoms has the same curve, see red arrows. A pleasure to the eyes.
Giovanni


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« Reply #29 on: December 06, 2013, 05:53:20 pm »

Dear Giovanni,
    I agree with 100% of what you say. 
Shabbat Shalom,
Joey


WHOOPS! Sorry to Giovanni and to Richard. I wasn't paying attention, which happens to me  sometimes. I was looking at the colour and not at the fact that Tom's bottle, also superb, has taotie on the sides, where Richard's bottle is totally plain.  Roll Eyes
Shabbat Shalom,
Joey
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« Reply #30 on: December 06, 2013, 09:18:31 pm »

Hi Giovanni

Thank you for your comment and your analysis. Appreciated.

Joey, I think you have some mixed up here. The bottle featured by Giovanni is indeed mine.

Regards.


Richard
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Richard from sunny Singapore
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« Reply #31 on: December 07, 2013, 01:49:38 am »


The 'Crystal Clear' category is one where I do not have many bottles in the collection in which to contribute to the sharing. This bottle was purchased at ICSBS Convention in Toronto in 2007 from Jin Hing Co. (i,e., dealer Bob Lee).  Bob found the bottle while perusing through an antique mall in Toronto the day before the convention. 

Smoky Quartz (SiO2) Snuff Bottle:
Plain, well hollowed, thin walled transparent brownish-black smoky quartz crystal snuff bottle.  Well-formed raised oval foot rim on contour with base of bottle.  New salmon colored glass stopper carved in the shape of a coiled chi long with a green glass collar and new ivory spoon.   Bottle is 5.6 cm in height without stopper.   

Period: ca. late 1800’s is what Bob suspected.

This is currently my best, Charll
    


* Smoky Quartz 9a.jpg (108.38 KB, 500x617 - viewed 36 times.)

* Smoky Quartz 7a.jpg (91.7 KB, 500x601 - viewed 23 times.)

* Smoky Quartz 4a.jpg (233.93 KB, 1072x804 - viewed 26 times.)

* Smoky Quartz6a.jpg (74.98 KB, 346x336 - viewed 21 times.)
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Charll K Stoneman, Eureka, California USA, Collector Since 1979.

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« Reply #32 on: December 07, 2013, 01:57:48 am »

Hi Giovanni

Thank you for your comment and your analysis. Appreciated.

Joey, I think you have some mixed up here. The bottle featured by Giovanni is indeed mine.

Regards.


Richard


WHOOPS! Sorry to Giovanni and to Richard. I wasn't paying attention, which happens to me  sometimes. I was looking at the colour and not at the fact that Tom's bottle, also superb, has taotie on the sides, where Richard's bottle is totally plain.  Roll Eyes
Shabbat Shalom,
Joey
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« Reply #33 on: December 07, 2013, 02:04:11 am »

Charll,
   Your bottle is certainly in the same class as the others posted here so far, and I would date it at least 20 and probably 90 years earlier,  ca. 1780 - 1850, rather than ca. 1870 - 1900.
   Bob Lee is notoriously conservative in his dating...
Shabbat Shalom,
    Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #34 on: December 07, 2013, 08:44:41 am »

Charll,

You have a superb bottle there. I tend to agree with Joey on it's dating - in the range 1780-1850. Interestingly, I cannot see the contour of the inside surface of the bottle, which shows so clearly on Richard's example, and as pointed out by Giovanni. I assume that is entirely due to the angle of the light on the subject.

I also assume you added the stopper sometime afterwards, as I don't see how Bob Lee could have come up with such a perfect one in 24 hours!

Tom
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« Reply #35 on: December 07, 2013, 09:30:15 am »

Dear Tom,
    That looks like one of Jill Guojie's stoppers.  Carved (molded?) coral glass on a green jadeite glass collar. They are beautiful, and I bought some myself.
   
Charll,
    Am I correct?      Wink

Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #36 on: December 07, 2013, 09:45:44 am »


    That looks like one of Jill Guojie's stoppers.  Carved (molded?) coral glass on a green jadeite glass collar. They are beautiful, and I bought some myself.


Joey,
   Is that where they come from? I was wondering, because I have several bottles which came with exactly the same stopper.

Tom
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« Reply #37 on: December 07, 2013, 01:20:59 pm »

Wonderful bottle Charll.  I have a few with this kind of stopper and I also love them.  Thanks for sharing
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« Reply #38 on: December 07, 2013, 01:24:42 pm »

Tom
Quote
I cannot see the contour of the inside surface of the bottle, which shows so clearly on Richard's example, and as pointed out by Giovanni. I assume that is entirely due to the angle of the light on the subject.

No, it is not the light.  The walls on the bottle have a uniform thickness with the same curvature of the bottle's exterior wall, which is relatively thin (appears to be 3mm or less) with a high polish.  You can see through the bottle, but there is no appearance of distinct interior walls.  I think this is an illusion caused by the crystal’s optics, it's tinting, the uniform hollowing on contour to match the bottle’s exterior and a high interior polish.  Any interior lines are can only slightly to be made out beyond the rounding points of the bottle sides and bottom.  How the bottle carver blended this into the thick throat of the bottle amazes me.   When unstoppered the interior walls of the throat can be easily seen from a front on view, but disappears at the bottle's shoulders.

Joey, Yes this is a stopper and spoon provide by Jill Guojie.  Bob Lee had her stopper the bottle during the convention in 2007. 

Charll
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« Reply #39 on: December 07, 2013, 02:13:59 pm »

 Charll,
    The bottle is amazing, due to the thinness of its walls and possibly is ca.1770 - 1830 (ie., equally possible to be last third 18th C./first third 19th C.).

   I have been getting really fine stoppers and spoons from Jill Guojie at least since 2006.
We should get her involved in the Forum.
   Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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