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Glazed Double Gourd Bottle

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RW
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« on: August 21, 2016, 05:17:44 pm »

Hello All,

  A recent surprise find at an East Coast auction. By the size and smooth double gourd contours, the tactile feel of it in the fingers is extraordinary 

 
 Condition: few patches of glaze crackle can be viewed under magnification around the upper body and neck

Size:
 HT: 6.35c;  Base diameter:3.65cm

 Mouth: .71cm



Best,

Kevin
« Last Edit: August 24, 2016, 02:48:32 am by Kevin » Report Spam   Logged

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YT
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« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2016, 06:26:20 pm »


Hello All,

  A recent surprise find at an East Coast auction. By the size and smooth double gourd contours, the tactile feel of it in the fingers is extraordinary 

 A Yixing monochromatic double gourd bottle with a grape vine pattern, clear glaze on a natural brown slip colored paint,  against a natural buff ground, with sky blue enamel grapes, convex lip rim, raised on an unglazed foot rim. The glaze ends unevenly at the rim. The foot is deeply concave.

 Condition: few patches of glaze crackle can be viewed under magnification around the upper body and neck

Size:
 HT: 6.35c;  Base diameter:3.65cm

 Mouth: .71cm

Glazing of Yixing ware is rare, and in keeping with the literati aesthetic some of the wares were painted in the natural slip colors. The color ranges of the clays found there are described as buff to reddish brown to chocolate brown
 Some interesting notes regarding the potteries in Yixing xian are available at Gotheborg.com in the Yixing glossary section,  with the link given below.
http://gotheborg.com/glossary/yixing.shtml

Best,

Kevin

Dear Kevin,

This doesn't looked like Chinese and definitely not a snuff bottle.
Attractive yes. More of a bottle vase.

Cheers,
YT
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Joey
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2016, 06:50:29 pm »

Dear Kevin,

     I agree with YT on both points (not Chinese and not a snuff bottle).
I'd vote Korean or Japanese.
Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2016, 07:36:14 pm »

Dear Joey, YT

 Thank you both for looking and your input.

There are several reasons why the design elements seen here give it a Chinese attribution.

The grape enamelling is a Chinese design element in the grapevine patterns of some ceramics. This character has not been known to me as either Japanese or Korean. Here is another Chinese example however it was done in a different manner

http://auctions.freemansauction.com/auction-lot-detail/A-large-and-rare-Chinese-underglaze-blue-and-red-squirrel-an/1523+++++185+/++934365


The use of the natural slip tones of Yixing ware was preferred by the literati class, as noted in the Gotheborg glossary. The artist here used the contrasts of the natural slip tones to illustrate the vine pattern. And, below is a link to a post of the Yixing bottles on the forum,  with the one pictured on the right in the link painted in a dark chocolate slip color against the natural unpainted ground, in contrasting colors just as w/this one. Highlighting  another character element with the use of contrasting colors,in both a natural unpainted ground and chocolate brown painted pattern that is Chinese, rather than Korean or Japanese

http://snuffbottle.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,352.0.html


Also, in the post it was noted that the glaze ends "short of the base" which I believe to mean at the rim.  The uneven line at the end of the glaze is characteristic of an older piece

It's concave foot matches with the description given in the link. A concave potted foot done in this manner is unknown to me as either Japanese or Korean
 
On vase or bottle-  the neck is too short to be a bottle vase. A long sloping neck design would be characteristic of a bottle vase. The convex lip rim is also characteristic of ceramic bottles. Of the many ceramic bottle vases that I have seen, the lips are smooth.

The mouth is of expected bottle diameter as opposed to the wider or fluted mouth of a vase

This one was meant to be handled w/a very tactile feel, rather than rest on a shelf


Best,
Kevin
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2016, 11:21:47 pm »

Dear Kevin,

As long as there is even one doubt, it is difficult to justify.
You are pointing to very small aspects of different items from good to 'not so good' auction houses. This is good except that the similarities must be nearer or better.

This 'bottle' cannot even be classified as a snuff bottle. Look at Joey's three guidelines.
http://snuffbottle.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,3103.msg41934.html#msg41934

Cheers,
YT

PS: these are just my superficial views Wink. Lets wait for the Yixing experts to comment.
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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2016, 11:50:11 pm »

I am not a Yixing expert, but agree with everything both Joey and YT posted...

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« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2016, 02:33:19 am »

Dear YT
 Your comments are always appreciated,  as they have steered much worthwhile research, but in the face of research and observation that would show otherwise, such comments cant count for much more than having provided the incentive for study

I will recap w/a few other observations:
   A Chinese grapevine pattern painted in a dark brown slip hue, against a natural lighter colored ground with applied enameling as exhibited in other Chinese ceramics, the pattern also done in the literati aesthetic of natural slip hues(Gotheborg.com and the forum links provided above)

 The double gourd shape was composed in the Chinese manner- entirely different form from Korean or Japanese double gourd forms.
A bottle with the expected Chinese bottle height and mouth diameter, the neck and lip of a bottle, the soft tactile feel of a bottle, and importantly there is no glaze on the foot as would be expected of a vase, the point of which would be to eliminate leaking or staining from water, where no water stains or marks are present on the evenly colored unglazed foot or about the rim, the foot and rim were both made in the manner of a Chinese bottle,
 
Best,

Kevin
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« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2016, 04:23:34 am »

Dear Kevin,
 
     You have given examples of 'Squirrel and Grapevines'. Is there a squirrel?
If not ( to me, as to the Chinese who were very literal [maybe they had Asperger's too!]), it is NOT 'Squirrel and Grapevines'.  To bring more fruit into the discussion (5 a day?   Cheesy), it is not good to compare apples and oranges.  Wink Roll Eyes

     I have seen many fine slip-decorated Yixing SBs and owned a number; and seen  many enameled Yixing SBs (I didn't like anything I could afford, so didn't buy); but in 46+ years of collecting, I have NEVER before seen a glazed Yixing slip-decorated bottle.

    Do you have any other examples of Yixing from ca.1620-1940, in any shape or form, which are glazed over slip decoration?

              *************************************************

FROM GOTHEBORG.com  (And I thank Mr. Jan-Erik Nilsson):

Yixing (Buccaro), zisha ("purple clay") ware

The center of production for Yixing zisha pottery is Dingshuzhen in Yixing County, in the southern part of Jiangsu Province. High quality Yixing clay comes from along the banks of Lake Tai near Nanjing. Refined and fired to a high temperature it produces a slightly absorbent pottery highly regarded by tea lovers.

This has been the center of Chinese teapot production since the Song Dynasty (960-1279). In the Ming period several generations of famous zisha potters worked there. In the Qing period literati collaborated with zisha potters to produce large numbers of finely made teapots and decorative items appealing particularly to the literati taste.

Potteries in Yixing xian, which lies west of Taihu (Lake Tai) in Jiangsu Province, were operative as early as the Han dynasty, when they produced gray- and red- bodied earthenware as well as green-glazed stoneware. 23 The ceramics for which kilns in this vicinity are most famous, however, are of a much later date and of a very different nature. The variety of clays available to these kilns fire to many different colors, ranging from buff to reddish brown to dark chocolate brown; they also lend themselves to the creation of interesting textures as well as unusual and fanciful shapes.

Yixing kilns are famous for their unglazed reddish and brownish stoneware teapots, which are often embellished with incised, stamped, or relief decoration. 

Based on recent kiln~site discoveries, the distinctive type of Yixing stoneware, which is called zisha ("purple clay") ware in China, is thought to have developed during the Northern Song period. 24 A few excavated teapots document its manufacture during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, 25 and production has continued to the present day. Many Ming and Qing Yixing wares have been signed by potters whose dates are known, and a number of these pieces are accepted as genuine. However, with typical Chinese reluctance to part with the past, Yixing craftsmen have sustained old styles over long periods of time, making it difficult to give an exact date to the majority of these wares. Indeed, it is hard to distinguish some modern Yixing teapots from examples that were produced during the Ming and Qing periods.

A zisha ware with a Jun-type glaze, called Yijun ware, rivals the flambť Shiwan ware from Guangdong.

Decoration

The surface of the vast majority of Yixing wares simply displays the body material of the vessel with molded, carved or applied decoration. Glazing or surface painting are rare. A small number of Yixing wares are glazed, usually with a robin's egg glaze, as in the case of a square 18th century teapot in the K.S. Lo collection illustrated in Yixing Purple Clay Wares, Hong Kong, 1994, p. 81, no. 33, or a Jun-type glaze, as in the case of a small Kangxi seal-paste box in the Percival David Foundation illustrated by R. Scott in For the Imperial Court - Qing Porcelain from the Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, Singapore/London, 1997, p. 107, no. 38. Painted decoration is particularly rare and may take the form of enameled decoration like that of a 19th century teapot in the K.S. Lo Collection illustrated in Yixing Purple Clay Wares, op. cit., p. 109, no. 64. Much more in keeping with the literati aesthetic, however, is the subtle and refined painting in natural slip colors.

                   ************************************************

No mention of a piece like yours, with clear glaze over slip decorated Yixing. And I've not been able to find any examples in any literature on Chinese ceramics.

  It might well be tactile, and it could also have been for standing on a table in a Scholar's studio, and thus obviating the need to be a slim flask; and you could be right; but show us examples of the design that are comparable, and examples of antique clear glazed slip-decorated Yixing.

   I still like it, and would love to hold it in my hand to experience the tactile pleasure; I'm just not sure it is antique and/or Chinese.

   But thank you for posting it. It forced me to go looking through books in my general Chinese Arts section, in my Library downstairs which I'd not looked at in a while. In my study, upstairs, I have my Snuff Bottle library in a 6-shelved 'bookcase' formed out of a blocked off internal doorway 7 ft. high and 3 ft. wide and a ft. deep on this side. It is easily at hand, a step from my computer on a late 18th C. library table.

Best,
Joey
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« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2016, 04:42:11 am »


Dear Joey,
 
 Many thanks for the post- how wonderful to have a vast resource on Chinese arts, and i'm sure many great bottles to hold, just steps away Smiley

 The concept of applied enamels to the grapes in design is what I wanted to show by the example, rather than "squirrel and grapevine" patterns 

 the way the foot and foot rim were made and w/ a deep recess at the center of the foot may help w/the question of age. In the post given below, the bottle would fit left of center in the 100yr continuum

http://snuffbottle.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,2451.0.html

Best,

Kevin
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« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2016, 05:26:44 am »

Dear Kevin,

     But again, you are comparing 'apples and oranges'. Those are all porcelain with the concentric circle base that Charll loves (and rightly so).
 
     Your piece is not porcelain, and does not have concentric circles. So you CAN'T put it anywhere in that group, because it is not part of that group.
     
     Yixing was a provincial pottery producer, while Jingdezhen was the central producer of fine porcelain. Just as coppersmiths were not compared to goldsmiths, even though they both worked in metal, there was quite a gap between workers in porcelain and those in pottery. At least this is how it was explained to me.

    Please show me other examples of antique, clear-glazed slip=decorated Yixing pottery.

   Best,
Joey




Dear Joey,
 
 Many thanks for the post- how wonderful to have a vast resource on Chinese arts, and i'm sure many great bottles to hold, just steps away Smiley

 The concept of applied enamels to the grapes in design is what I wanted to show by the example, rather than "squirrel and grapevine" patterns 

 the way the foot and foot rim were made and w/ a deep recess at the center of the foot may help w/the question of age. In the post given below, the bottle would fit left of center in the 100yr continuum

http://snuffbottle.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,2451.0.html

Best,

Kevin
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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2016, 05:29:23 am »

Dear Kevin,

     But again, you are comparing 'apples and oranges'. Those are all porcelain with the concentric circle base that Charll loves (and rightly so).
 
     Your piece is not porcelain, and does not have concentric circles. So you CAN'T put it anywhere in that group, because it is not part of that group.
     
     Yixing was a provincial pottery producer, while Jingdezhen was the central producer of fine porcelain. Just as coppersmiths were not compared to goldsmiths, even though they both worked in metal, there was quite a gap between workers in porcelain and those in pottery. At least this is how it was explained to me.

    Please show me other examples of antique, clear-glazed slip=decorated Yixing pottery.

   Best,
Joey




Dear Joey,
 
 Many thanks for the post- how wonderful to have a vast resource on Chinese arts, and i'm sure many great bottles to hold, just steps away Smiley

 The concept of applied enamels to the grapes in design is what I wanted to show by the example, rather than "squirrel and grapevine" patterns 

 the way the foot and foot rim were made and w/ a deep recess at the center of the foot may help w/the question of age. In the post given below, the bottle would fit left of center in the 100yr continuum

http://snuffbottle.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,2451.0.html

Best,

Kevin
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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2016, 05:44:53 am »


Dear Joey, 
 
I fully understand and appreciate what you are saying. And, the continuum may not apply any further than to illustrate what might have been common practice in foot development in meeting the aesthetic criteria for each period of the potted bottles in general.
 Same again applies to the examples given showing the thickly applied enameling technique for the grapes on the porcelain wares
 Yes, I will continue my search for further examples of Yixing bottles w/ the painted natural brown slip hue design against the natural clay ground, such as the one posted earlier on the forum

Best

Kevin
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« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2016, 05:50:34 am »

Dear Kevin,

    Don't limit yourself to bottles in Yixing; look for other wares, too.
Because I feel (though Giovanni sometimes disagrees with me.  Grin), that we can compare Yixing pottery wares other than snuff bottles to Yixing pottery snuff bottles, and learn from them.
I hope you do find other appropriate examples.
Regardless, it does look really tactile in the picture.
Congratulations. Whether it is or is not Yixing, or Chinese, or antique or whatever, it looks very pleasing.
Best,
Joey




Dear Joey, 
 
I fully understand and appreciate what you are saying. And, the continuum may not apply any further than to illustrate what might have been common practice in foot development in meeting the aesthetic criteria for each period of the potted bottles in general.
 Same again applies to the examples given showing the thickly applied enameling technique for the grapes on the porcelain wares
 Yes, I will continue my search for further examples of Yixing bottles w/ the painted natural brown slip hue design against the natural clay ground, such as the one posted earlier on the forum

Best

Kevin

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« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2016, 06:17:22 am »

Dear Kevin,

Joey is right. Antique Yixing snuff bottles are so rare in numbers that comparison are usually very hard to find. Teapots on the contrary are a lot.

Cheers,
YT

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« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2016, 08:07:49 am »

Dear all,
I am happening now on this thread. I believe that both YT and Joey are right in saying that this bottle is not Chinese and not a snuff bottle, although I canít say if it is Korean or Japanese or else, because I am not expert on ceramic ware from other Countries. The decoration style is not Chinese, that for sure. But more important to me, this bottle is NOT Yixing ware. Yixing has a completely different paste. I donít exclude that it is porcelain, it may have this light burnished like surface depending on the impurities and the kiln conditions, but again, not Yixing.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2016, 09:46:41 am »

Dear Giovanni
While I appreciate your well informed opinions on porcelains,
Please do a quick search of Yixing grape vine patterns around the internet  There is an abundance of examples of this simple monochromatic design element albeit accomplished with incisions and modeling and without a paint brush. The pattern here would then be the handcpainted equivalent to the Yixing grape pattern found on tea pots rather than the more elaborate porcelain patterns and again done in an austere manner for the literati
Best

Kevin
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« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2016, 10:48:53 am »

Dear Kevin,

    I checked that on the net (I didn't know there was grape-flavoured tea. Is it good?), and found other examples of squirrels and grapevines, but nothing remotely looking like your example.
Best,
Joey
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« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2016, 12:10:10 pm »

Dear Kevin,
sorry but I must give the same answer given by Joey. I don't need to search on internet for the grapewine motif on Yixing ware, I know that it exist and how it looks. It is just for that reason that I can concur with Joey and YT, the motif exist but it is very different from that on you bottle. The motif on your bottle is not Chinese and the bottle is not Yixing. If you don't believe that, you is who must find a similar example in Yixing ware.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2016, 12:42:05 pm »

Dear Kevin,
I must correct myself. I said that the bottle could be porcelain turned brownish because of the firing, but I miss to consider that it is glazed. So it is evident that the bottle is not porcelain, it must be stoneware. If porcelain, under the glaze it MUST be white.
Said that, dear Kevin, besides the wrong style, have you never seen those blue spots on Chinese stoneware? It is clearly not Chinese (and not Yixing).
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Giovanni
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« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2016, 01:08:38 pm »

Ha Giovanni
Those spots are grapes formed with thickly applied enamels, similarly made as those found in other Chinese ceramic wares
I will find monochrome and monochromatic Yixing ware with grape vine patterns for posting later on
Please also review the construction elements, the foot and foot rim the height the mouth diameter, the convex lip, the double gourd shape, the tactile feel are all consistent with Chinese ceramic manufacture

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Kevin
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