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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
April 20, 2018, 09:45:42 am
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Hornbill Ivory bottle symbolism

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Author Topic: Hornbill Ivory bottle symbolism  (Read 265 times)
marcos
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« on: April 01, 2016, 11:44:47 am »

Dear All,

Does anyone have any references to the couple scene on this bottle? In the other side, a wish for longevity (cranes and lingzhi clouds). It measures 5.5 cm.

(Could that be a Baishi bottle?)

The other bottle, shaped as a beak, has cranes and lotus on both sides, thus a wish for harmony and peace.

(I found some snuff inside it...)

Shabbat Shalom









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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2016, 03:58:39 pm »

Dear Marcos,
since there has been some misunderstanding last time in an identical situation, can you please say what do you mean by “Could that be a Baishi bottle”? The most obvious meaning is that you are asking if the bottle has been carved by Baishi, but it is at the same time obvious that it is not possible. So, what do you mean?
Kind regards
Giovanni
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Joey
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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2016, 04:28:14 pm »

Dear Marcos,

      I have a Hornbill Ivory snuff bottle attributed to Baishi, which is from the Edward O'Dell Collection. I brought my bottle out to compare with your first example, so I could give you my best opinion.

      No, I doubt that yours is by Baishi, but the side with the figures sitting at a table is extremely well carved  (the dragons and the cranes are seriously less well carved - a later observation) and has some age to it. Not ca. 1810-1840, but possibly 50 or even more years old.  The colour is wrong for a Daoguang period example.

     The second one, I can't even make a call.

Best,
Shabbat Shalom,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

marcos
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« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2016, 04:39:05 pm »

Dear Giovanni,

I am sorry I didnīt make myself clear.

According to a certain dealer, there was a hornbill carver whose hao is Baishi. He used to carve the red sheath on the side of the bottles with chi dragons. He signed some bottles, others not.

Reading further, I am quite sure it is not a Baishi carving, as he would often have one of the sides carved with calligraphy. Also, the dragons are not so well carved as some examples I have seen on the net.

By the way, this Baishi I am refering to lived in the 19th Century.

Best Regards,

Marcos
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marcos
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« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2016, 04:43:10 pm »

Dear Joey,

Thank you very much for taking the trouble to compare the bottles.

Am I right to think that Daoguang period bottles would have a more butterly colour?
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2016, 04:59:05 pm »

Dear Marcos,
here you see my ignorance!! I only knew the more famous Baishi, please apologize.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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marcos
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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2016, 06:00:16 pm »

Dear Giovanni,
I am the one to apologise for lack of clarity.

It seems that Baishi is quite a popular hao.

Regards,

Marcos
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Joey
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« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2016, 03:14:42 am »

Dear Marcos,

     Baishi, the Hornbill Ivory carver in Daoguang (It sounds a bit like a joke, which I will add at the end) signed and dated 2 examples that we know of. There are 8 or 9 examples, including mine from the Edward O'Dell collection, where he did not  sign or date them, but the carving has been attributed to him, based on stylistic evidence. Mine has no carving front or reverse, but is carved with a monkey holding a peach of longevity, watched by another monkey, among rockwork and lingzhi, in the red material to the sides.

     Please don't ask me to explain the stylistic evidence; I am basing myself on received information. In my opinion, the superb quality of the carving onthe front of yours, that of the 2 figures, is good enough to be considered a Baishi example. But the reverse, and the narrow sides, show that it is not. However, I have seen literally hundreds of Hornbill Ivory snuff bottles, and this is in the top 40.

     NOT in the Baishi or earlier group of 15-20, I want to state clearly. But in an intermediate group (between the genuine examples from Daoguang or even earlier; and the crude modern examples from 1960 onward), which could date anywhere from ca.1890 to 1950. And, while these are not Baishi or earlier, they are genuine examples in my opinion. And I think yours is as well.
By the way,  I really hate the ones with integral chains. Their carving is flashy but crude.

    The joke is this: A Mossad Agent from Israel is supposed to meet an informant in Brooklyn, NYC. when he gets to the correct address, there are 2 Cohens listed! What should he do? He decides to go to the first one, Abe Cohen, on the 2nd floor, and gives him a coded message: "The sky is blue, the birds are singing!". Mr. Cohen looks at him a moment, and replies, "Oh, you want Cohen the Spy! He's in 3G. I'm Cohen the Tailor!"

Best,
Shabbat Shalom,
Joey
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George
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« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2016, 12:21:55 pm »

Sure do like the beak shaped bottle.. Beautifully carved..
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Joey
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« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2016, 12:45:56 pm »

Dear George,

      It is nicely carved, but the shape is very strange.
 I wonder if it is a few pieces of hornbill ivory glued together, and then carved?

Best,
Joey
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« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2016, 03:30:51 pm »

Dear Marcos,
are you sure that the second bottle is not resin?
I am asking that because:
It seems that there are bubbles here and there.
The distribution of the red is very strange, and in fact impossible as we see it on the mouth. Unless there is a ring glued to the mouth.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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George
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« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2016, 03:51:51 am »

I think what appear to be air bubbles are actually meant to be there.. I can't recall the name for using perforated dots technique like this throughout a theme..
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Tom B.
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« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2016, 03:21:14 pm »

Dear Giovanni, George, and all,

I agree with Giovanni the hole look suspicious on that strange shaped "hornbill" SB.  So I searched for sold examples of Baishi's work and found the Bloch collection has macro images in Bonham's listing:

https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20309/lot/138/


To make it easier to see I am posting some images:

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Best regards,

Tom B.

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« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2016, 03:24:18 pm »

The following is an expanded view of the waves showing some holes that are apparently naturally in the material.  I can't say that they are of the same type as seen on the bottle posted by CMB, but it seems possible.

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Best regards,

Tom B.

marcos
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« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2016, 11:30:48 am »

Dear Joey,

I agree with you. Although the carving is quite good, it is not as good as the ones attributed to Baishi I have seem on the net.

(Thanks for the joke. I shared it with friends on Shabbat.)


Hi Giovanni,

I agree with you. Something is not quite right with the beak-shaped one. I donīt think it is resin, but some pieces melded together.

Hello Tom,

Thanks for sending the photos for comparison. I am also curious about the holes.It doesnīt appear it is inherent to the material but carved in order to make the lotus leaves look more realistic.

Thanks everyone for the help,

Regards,

Marcos
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George
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« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2016, 02:10:43 pm »

I am also curious about the holes.It doesnīt appear it is inherent to the material but carved in order to make the lotus leaves look more realistic.




I really think your correct Marcos.. I think the holes are intentional.. Here is one example showing similar at http://collections.museumca.org/?q=collection-item/s7742616 , and also here https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/13290661_chinese-carved-hornbill-skull-casque-snuff-bottle  just to show a couple that can be found online.

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Joey
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« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2016, 05:01:57 pm »

Dear Marcos,

 My pleasure.
Best,
Joey
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« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2016, 10:50:09 pm »


I am also curious about the holes. It doesnīt appear it is inherent to the material but carved in order to make the lotus leaves look more realistic.



I agree about the holes being intentional. I have seen intricately carved agate bottles with the same holes. And those were definitely not bubbles!   Wink
 
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« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2016, 03:41:39 pm »

Dear all,
I don't agree with you. Marcos, if the bottle is made of pieces of hornbill joined together, then you must see the joining lines. I don’t see them in your pictures. Also, we should see abrupt variations in the red, while we only see smooth fading. The only piece clearly joined is the collar. About the holes/bubbles, some of them looks purposely placed, but others has a non-sense placing. So only Marcos could inspect carefully the bottle and determine, by the shape of the bottom of the holes, if all them are holes or not. And comparing the body with the real hornbill one (the first one) determine if it is the same material or not.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2016, 04:18:11 pm »

Can that collar possibly be the dark outer part of the Hornbill and simply carved out of that exterior part of the Hornbill ?  I just don't see how that is connected ( glued, etc. ) in some way. It looks natural to me.. 
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