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IP crystal snuff bottle - cricket & gourds in the style of brush painting

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Author Topic: IP crystal snuff bottle - cricket & gourds in the style of brush painting  (Read 230 times)
greeno
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« on: April 14, 2014, 10:50:22 pm »

Here's a snuff bottle I picked up while traveling in the Pan Handle of Florida, Tallahassee to be exact.

The bottle doesn't strike me as being old at all, but I liked the 'brush painting' manner of the painting of a cricket among gourds with a few lady bugs flying about.

It is signed rather clearly, but hard to photograph because the crystal affects how the photo captures the imagery.

The stopper looks to be plastic.

Can anyone identify this artist and age of the bottle?  Thanks!


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George
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2014, 11:04:48 pm »

Yes, not old, but I also do like the painting ..  Especially the cricket and lady bugs..

Thanks for sharing this one !
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2014, 11:07:20 pm »

Hi Tim,

That should be a tourist bottle, no artist signed, dated dragon year, which could be 2013 or 2001 or 1989.

The style is a copy from a inside painting master Suo zhenhai, but the skill is not yet.

Steven


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greeno
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« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2014, 07:19:05 am »

It would not surprise me that this was from 2013 or 2001.  The stopper is clearly plastic, so I had no expectation of age.

I am not at all familiar with snuff bottle artists, so I looked up examples by Suo zhenhai.  His landscapes are AMAZING and dream like!

I found one insect bottle that sold at Bonham's.  I'm sure you've seen it, but in the spirit of sharing, here's a link: https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20089/lot/5153/

Suo is very precise with the use of his brush.  Very beautiful.

For me, the cricket and gourd bottle, tourist or not, seems to be rendered in a looser and child-like manner that reminded me of the master brush painter, Qi Baishi, which is why I bought it.  To my knowledge, Qi Baishi never painted snuff bottles, but as he is considered the Picasso of China, he clearly had influenced the artist who painted this modern bottle.

This looser style of painting could be interpreted as being painted by an artist less skillful when compared to works rendered with precise strokes, but I wish to believe a more accurate comparison can be made to how impressionist painting compares to realism.  What is lost in the accuracy of the brushwork only helps to enhance the feeling of the imagery.  The viewer is not distracted by the details as to how accurately the cricket or gourds are rendered, but can focus on the auspiciousness and feeling of the painting, a symbol of happiness.

Below is a painting, Pet Cricket and Loofa (gourd) by Qi Baishi.  Without knowing anything about Qi Baishi, one might conclude the painting was rendered by an lesser skilled artist, or even a child.  But, the art world feels differently and his works are all considered masterpieces.


* PET CRICKET AND LOOFAH.jpg (53.08 KB, 640x305 - viewed 9 times.)
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Peter Bentley 彭达理
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« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2014, 04:01:38 pm »

Hi Tim

A  number  of  points  in  reply  to your  bottle ,   some of  which  may be  interest to  other  VMIPB  collectors

1. Yes - it's  definitely    a  "tourist-class"  /  "souvenir-quality"   bottle . Real artists rarely  - if  ever  -  paint  in that  kind  of  rather  ugly thick  glass  bottle, and  certainly would  never use a  plastic   stopper.

2.  There's  various  grades  of   "tourist-class"  /  "souvenir-quality"   bottles .

At the  bottom  end  there  is the  factory-produced  junk  that  sells  for US$ 10 - 20  (usually  marked  price is 5 - 10 x  higher  in the  tourist shops  but  one can negotiate    down by  50 - 90% .  Actual  production cost ...  US$  1 - 2   ! ) .

At the    top  end  are  some  very good  quality  bottles  that   are  either  unsigned  or  signed   with a  meaningless  pen-name-of-convenience  ( e. g  "little  mountain" ,  "little  moon" )  .  These  are  usually   marked  at prices US$ 400  - 600 in the  tourist  shops  but one  can  negotiate   down  to US$100  or  so.  Quite  a  few  of these  bottles are  painted   either  by  up-coming  serious  VMIPB students who  need some  ready  cash but   don't  want to  compromise their   future  status and  good (real)  name so they  make  up a  temporary pen-name.   Some are  even   "practice" bottles  by  middle-aged  artists who  sell off  their  less-than-satisfactory  bottles   cheaply  unsigned   just  as a  way  of  clearing their stock and   earning some   quick cash. I have  an  extraordinary   couple  of almost identical persian  cat  bottles, both  painted  by  Nie  Lei  (=  Yi Ding) .  One  was  unsigned  and  sold  off  cheaply  as  high-class  tourist  grade (I  recall I paid  about  US$80 ) . The    second  version  is  signed and  I paid  US$160.

When I  happen to  see  bottles  in this  latter  category in  the  few  high-class   tourist /  semi -specialist  IPB  shops   which I   frequent  in China  I  just  offer a  flat  RMB 600  =  US$ 100 regardless  of  what the  marked  price  is on a  take-it-or-leave-it  basis, and the  shop-owner  usually agrees.  I reckon the   shop owner  paid  RMB 300 - 400, so considering  the   shop owner's  high  rent costs  it's a  fair  deal.

3. I  put  your    cricket and  gourd  bottle   somewhere  in between .

4. Painting "themes"  for bottles   vary  tremendously -  everything from  copies (  crude  or  skilled)  copies  of   traditional   Chinese  paintings  to    copies  (  crude  or  skilled)  of  modern  Chinese   art works,  like  Qi  Baishi's  "Picasso"  style  or   very detailed  oil  paintings  ( everything from the  Mona  Lisa  to  modern  Chinese  oil  paintings).    That's the   "copy"  painting   style...

Then one gets  into   commissioned  bottles  : someone  has   commissioned  a   photo -portrait  or  a  copy  of  a  very special  "canvas (or  Chinese   art-paper)"  art-work. Prices  for these  kind of  bottles   direct-from-artists   range  from US$500  - 2,000   depending  on the  complexity  and   difficulty.  A  simple  portrait  copy  of a  photograph is  very easy  : US$500.   But an accurate  copy  of  an abstract  modern Chinese   artwork  may take the  IPB  artist  a  month to  complete , thus  US$2,000  price  range.

Then finally  one  gets  into   the   super class,  where the  artist  has developed  is  own  style  and  is   creating genuine, original art  within a  bottle.   THAT's  when it  gets  really  interesting... and   potentially  very  expensive ( US$ 2,000  ....  US$5,000 + )

5.  Crickets,   gourds, insects...   are   quite a  common theme,  both in  traditional and modern  Chinese  art, so it's  not  surprising   that  one  often  sees  bottles    which remind  one  of  Qi  Baishi's  works.

(Suo Zhenhai   did often  paint  insects,  which is  why Steven  says  it reminds  him of  SZH's   works.  But  most probably the  person who painted the bottle  never  even heard  of  SZH, let  alone  tried to  copy  a  SZH bottle.  The  painter   just used one of the  hundreds  of   art books   commercially available in China   and then   roughly  copied  from it. )

Also, I have  seen the  "classic"   photo  of  Qi Baishi  himself painted  numerous  times  by  numerous  artists  as  an example of their best   black-and-white  portrait  work( see  attached   example  by  Song Yiming )

BTW:  I  greatly  admire   Qi  Baishi's works !

6. As  you  may have  picked  up  on the  Forum, I have a  massive   data base  of   VMIPBs :  now  currently   11  GB,  which contains  about  10,000  images  of    bottles,  either   scanned  from  books  or   downloaded  from   websites   or  pics  of bottles  by  other collectors.   So I  have  studied  almost every  kind  of  bottle  painted  in the  the  past 25  years,  besides  my own collection of  300  VMIPBs  collected  over the past 10 years .

I'm therefore   100% certain that what  you  bought  was   a  tourist-grade bottle which someone  bought  on a  trip to  China 10 years  ago, and  it  finally  ended  up  in a car- trunk   or  storage-locker  sale,  and thus - eventually -  in whatever   shop  you  eventually  bought  it  from.  Whatever price  you  paid has  no relation  to  the   actual  original ( or even  current)  value  of the bottle

Cheers

Peter

PS: Please  don't  feel  bad  about  your  purchase.   My very  first IPB  was a  tourist-class  Chinese  landscape bottle, complete  with  faked- look-alike-but-not-genuine-miniature  Chinese characters. But  I  LOVED the  bottle, and  still  give  it a  special  pride-of-place  in my collection as  my FIRST  bottle.

I bought  it   at   a  little   gift  shop  at the  base  of the  Great  Wall  in 2004... and  paid  US$100 (down from US$300  asking  price)    Cheesy 





* Song Yiming @CIPMA(3).jpg (215.13 KB, 1651x1871 - viewed 9 times.)
« Last Edit: April 16, 2014, 04:43:48 pm by Peter Bentley 彭达理 » Report Spam   Logged

greeno
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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2014, 08:24:45 pm »

Peter,

Great info and as I'm constantly balancing my day with finding new treasures to buy and learning from true experts so that I will recognize the treasures when I find them, I very much plan to fully dissect your database over the next months and more.

With regards to my purchase, I am not upset or disappointed with my purchase - $20 was what I paid, I knew the piece was new, I figured it was low on the spectrum of collectable bottles (plastic stopper), but liked the cricket and gourd design.  All of your criticisms are very constructive - Thank you.

You also make a very good point about the best artists developing their own unique style.  It will take me some time before I can begin to recognize these styles, but that is the fun of learning.  Until then, I probably will lean towards recognizable styles, even if they turn out to be lesser quality.

The commonness of the cricket design is completely understandable.   Such an auspicious symbol!

My only point was that in my experience with Chinese paintings, not snuff bottles, loose / childlike / simple designs do not necessarily denote lesser quality.  From your very insightful explanation, in the world of snuff bottles, precision is clearly a measurement of artistry.  Point taken and much appreciated.

On a side note, a few years ago I bought this Chinese brush painting of a chrysanthemum flower for $25 from a thrift store.  It was quite simple, mostly in black ink with a bit of red, but I quickly found out from my Chinese friend that it was signed, Qi Baishi.  Authentication is a very difficult process, and with no provenance, no major auction house was willing to stick their neck out.  Still, I was able to sell the painting to a Chinese collector for $10,000 - he was quite sure it was genuine, and considering the age of the frame it came in, so was I.

Constructive criticism is ALWAYS WELCOME and APPRECIATED!  We learn the most from our mistakes.  Thanks again!


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Peter Bentley 彭达理
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« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2014, 12:51:39 am »

Hi  Tim

WOW  !     You  once   owned   a  real  Qi Baishi  painting  ! 

I  bought  several  paintings  by  some   quite   famous  artists    when  in  Beijing  in the  mid-late  80's

Totally  genuine  ...   but  they  never  inflated to the  US$ 10,000  =  range    Sad

And  I love  them and  still  do  love  them

But  I long since   ran  out of  wall  space  in my  little   HK home  -thus  I moved  to  inside  painted    bottles

Then  - if  you    check  back  on the  Forum  -  I  found  I  bought    many  bottles  that  are  now  marked  at  US$60,000   at   HK's  China   Arts  and  Crafts ( !!  Not  real  prices)

If  you  send  me  your   postal  address I  will  post you  a   copy  of  my  data  base  ,  but  it  come   with a  HUGE  WARNING :  It  makes  it   ALL   too  easy ,  like  buying  a  Chinese / English  dictionary   vs  learning  Chinese 

Cheers

Peter

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« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2014, 12:55:43 pm »

Dear Peter,
   Very well written and informative. Like Tim, I will re-read it and learn more. Thank you.
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

Peter Bentley 彭达理
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« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2014, 05:45:21 pm »

Hi  Tim

Keep  at  it  !

They are  many   little   bottles  but  they   each  encompass  HUGE   artistry,  even  as   tourist /  souvenir   grade

The  persian   cat   pic  in  the    current   side  side  bar  is  a   bottle  I  own  -  maybe  the  best  ever persian    cat  bottle  ever  painted

By  Ms  Zhang  Keqin

I   saw  the bottle   at  an   exhibition  in 12.2012   in BJ .  I asked  Ms Zhang    the     price   and she  looked  horrified !

And  she  protested  "But the  bottle  is  not  yet  finished  -  see  the  back side"
I  told  her  "I  will  only   ever     exhibit the   front side, so I   don't  care  about the    uncompleted   back  side" 

Then  I  asked  Ms  Zhang  to  buy  the bottle  "as  seen"    She   said  RMB 15,000   ( about  US$2,500)    which  just  happened   to  be  the  ready  cash  I  had  in my  pocket   that  day

 Thus  is   inside painted  magic  born !

Later,    when  Ms  Zhang   came  to  HK  as  guest  of  China  Arts &  Crafts   she   wrote  the  history  of  the  bottle  on the    uncompleted  B-side 

Thus  this  is  truly  a  VMIPB   with  a unique   history

So you   are   starting  to  delve  into  VMIPBs....   

GREAT !

I  will  send  you  gratis    a  copy    of my   11 GB  DB   if  you  prove  yourself    worthy  of  this   Forum  long-term  /  sincere    collector .  It   takes persistence  ....  and  money  .....  !

 Wink

Cheers

Peter
« Last Edit: April 16, 2014, 08:02:47 pm by Peter Bentley 彭达理 » Report Spam   Logged

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