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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
October 18, 2018, 03:37:43 pm
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Another Red Dragon

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Author Topic: Another Red Dragon  (Read 352 times)
cshapiro
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« on: September 15, 2016, 03:30:56 pm »

This appears to be a snuff jar to me - although I might be wrong and it might be a miniature vase. It was listed as 5cm tall and just sold on ebay for a healthy amount. I saw this and thought it looked authentic and old, however, I wanted to see what forum members have to say about it.



* dragonjar.jpg (104.12 KB, 800x3307 - viewed 57 times.)
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Cathy

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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2016, 03:45:12 pm »

Dear Cathy,

     It does not look either authentic OR old to me.  I would say it was made in the last 10 years.
Best,
Joey
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2016, 03:47:15 pm »

Hmmm I can't seem to "get" this type of bottle
My judgement appears to be way off.

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Cathy
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2016, 03:49:14 pm »

Agree (with Joey)
Giovanni
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cshapiro
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2016, 03:56:08 pm »

Here is a side by side comparison of a bottle sold on Christies, my bottle, and the one just sold on ebay

Side by side I can see that mine doesn't belong, but I don't see the difference between the bottle from Christies and the one just sold on ebay.
What is it about it that clues you that it is wrong?

Both are underglazed, so it's a good comparison.
I think the color can be discounted because you can't account for different lighting conditions in the photography or whether or not it's been sitting in the sun or not.
The painting is very very close except on the jar there is a border at the bottom. Is that an indicator of a newer bottle?
And then there is the bottle itself. Is the base not worn enough?

It would be so helpful if I could zone in on what you see that I don't


* reddragoncomparisons.png (465.52 KB, 800x329 - viewed 38 times.)
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2016, 04:05:20 pm »

Dear Cathy,

     Honestly, I like yours best, even though it is as modern as the one that just went on eBAY for a lot (I don't actually know what it went for. How much was it?). Look at how well the scales on your bottle (the middle one) are painted.
Neither the Christie's one nor the third one are as well painted. But no wear that I can see on any of them.
The first one might be Guangxu (1874-1908), but the next two are post Jiang Zemin (Led the PRC after Deng Xiaoping, from 1989 to 2002). Grin
Best,
Joey
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2016, 04:18:20 pm »

Haha! Thanks Joey. I do like my bottle even though it's modern.

The one on ebay went for 471 pounds! That's $620 USD
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2016, 07:14:38 pm »

I'm with Joey about the the first one possibly being Guangxu, and also like your better than those three..

But one thing that puts me off right away about the last two is the bottle shapes if nothing else.. I am certainly not saying there are not baluster shaped bottle of 18th and 19th, but these are really modern.. 
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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2016, 08:09:46 pm »

Thanks George - that gives me something to go on!

The first one pictured in the comparisons was sold at Christie's and so should be above reproach.

On mine, I have tracked down the company (still in business) that made it and so there is no question that it is new, but the company does hand paint them, so at least there's that.

But in my explorations of red dragons, I filled a folder with all the legitimate red dragon pieces of porcelain I could find. Then I did my comparison thing, finding all the identifiers in the paintings.

So when I came across that jar on ebay I compared it to my markers and thought the painting at least looked right.

But I did not take the shape of the piece into consideration, and also it didn't have a mark, and so I didn't pay enough attention to the base either I think.
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2016, 10:02:07 am »

Dear Cathy,

     I get your first mistake - thinking that anything from Christie's "should be above reproach". Grin
Depends on the appraiser, depends on the seller, depends on how 'honest' they are feeling that day...
If your mom sells you a bottle, and she is educated about SBs, I would vote you trust her. Although she may just know about the bottle from a bit earlier.  Any auction house, nope.
There is a comment in the Talmud: "Respect BUT Suspect".
Words to live by with auction houses, UNLESS you have personal friends working there, whom you can trust one on one.
Best,
Joey



Thanks George - that gives me something to go on!

The first one pictured in the comparisons was sold at Christie's and so should be above reproach.

On mine, I have tracked down the company (still in business) that made it and so there is no question that it is new, but the company does hand paint them, so at least there's that.

But in my explorations of red dragons, I filled a folder with all the legitimate red dragon pieces of porcelain I could find. Then I did my comparison thing, finding all the identifiers in the paintings.

So when I came across that jar on ebay I compared it to my markers and thought the painting at least looked right.

But I did not take the shape of the piece into consideration, and also it didn't have a mark, and so I didn't pay enough attention to the base either I think.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2016, 11:09:47 am by Joey » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2016, 11:07:16 am »

Joey, you should write a book titled "Survival Guide for New Snuff Bottle Collectors"... Smiley

Dear Cathy,

It's reasonable to think that items listed by reputable and prestigious auction houses are more likely to be genuine than those listed by smaller, not so well known ones, but I am afraid that's not absolutely true! Take Joey's words in this. Here's my personal experience that could give approval to that. Months ago, I came across a Canton enameled bottle with a provenance claimed to be from one of the most prominent auction houses (well the provenance did turn out to be consistent as claimed). Out of curiosity and the fact that I was interested in it, I emailed the pics to an experienced dealer who told me that it is essentially worthless, and guess how much it went for when it was previously auctioned at the auction house where it had its provenance from? About USD4,100!

So yes, respect but suspect!

Catalogs and past auction results of auction houses are still good reference, but just take caution, ask and get a few more opinions if you're not sure or smelling something not right!

Best,
Samson
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cshapiro
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2016, 11:21:26 am »

Oh wow Joey - that is eye opening! Thank you for the enlightenment! Thanks Samson and yes, I keep telling Joey he should write another book!

That leaves me with who to trust? I imagine I can put my trust in books like Bob Stevens, and perhaps too in the old collections like the Blair and the Marquess of Exeter - but not in catalogs of more recent collections that were put together for monetary gain.

I am veeeeery southern (trying to imitate my drawl) and this reminds me of a saying that I am fond of quoting. "Nobody loves me but my mama, and she could be jiving too!" hahaha
« Last Edit: September 16, 2016, 03:05:36 pm by cshapiro » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2016, 03:16:17 pm »

Dear Kathy,
first at all, what do you meant by saying that “Both are underglazed, so it's a good comparison.”? If you meant that the decoration is under the glaze, that is not true. The decoration on all three bottles is made by over-glaze iron red, also known as “rouge de fer”. They are over-glazed. You can find under-glazed red dragons, but in such case it is the less common, and more difficult to firing it correctly, copper red.
Said that, about the comparison.
First bottle (left one): where it has been sold the bottle by Christie’s? I found it very strange, that bottle is not of high quality enough to be sold by Christies. If it has been sold by them, it is a further prove of what said by Joey and Samson, the major Auction houses are not always THE reference, unfortunately.
Second bottle (your one): unlike Joey, sorry to be straightforward but I really don’t like such bottles. I can’t even watch at them.  Joey is right that it is well drawn, but that means nothing to me. Or better, it just means skill and nothing more. Not an artistic merit, not a recognizable style related with a period, just a copy. The exaggerated shape, also typical of this type of objects, is hurting too. Frankly it is hard to me to call this type of object as “fake”, because a fake tries to reproduce something in the best way the faker can do, while this type of bottles are instead trying to capture un-experienced buyers by means of such expedients, (exaggerated shape, fancy decoration, phantasy motifs) that are instead horrible to whom has an educated taste on the matter.
Third bottle: what tells us that this bottle is modern is, with no doubt, the foot and base. It is difficult to explain why, it is a knowledge that you will build up in time, with experience.  You will recognize immediately that none of old bottles has that foot/base shape and general appearance, including the paste. Besides that, the dragons have some mistakes that are spotted to whom knows how dragons of each period should look like. The more evident also to the not experienced eyes is the face of the dragon among waves. From which perspective has been drawn? It is a non-sense head. There is another clamorous detail, in the same third image that you posted, the one of the wrong face of the dragon. Look at the position of his front legs: what is that? It seems a crucified dragon! But, more important, pay attention to the fact that he is HOLDING the flamed pearl! With, above it, the standard flying flamed pearl that is usually chased by the two dragons! Two pearls there! What is that? A phantasy creation!
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2016, 03:50:17 pm »

Thanks Giovanni!
That is exactly what I was looking for - you just identified why the bottle was wrong! Very helpful!!!

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« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2016, 05:09:38 am »

Dear Giovanni,

     Everything you wrote is 100% correct, but if one wants to sell this bottle to an inexperienced collector, one could point to the 'crucified form', as secret Christological symbolism, put there by missionary artists.  Shocked

    Of course, the fact that it is TOTALLY modern, and definitely 21st C., and that there are NO Christian missionary artists working in Jingdezhen in the last 16 years, sort of screws my convoluted explanation.  Grin Roll Eyes Wink

    But I STILL like the painting of the scales on the middle bottle...
Best,
Shabbat Shalom,
Joey
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« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2016, 05:59:30 am »

Dear Joey, what is really wrong is the presence of the two flaming pearls. Those dragons are not chasing, they are sharing! Grin Grin
Giovanni
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« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2016, 06:08:40 am »

Dear Joey, what is really wrong is the presence of the two flaming pearls. Those dragons are not chasing, they are sharing! Grin Grin
Giovanni


Hahahaha Giovanni.., sharing is nice.

I really liked the one eye dragon with a patch.

Cheers,
YT
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« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2016, 09:03:53 am »

Dear YT,

      The dragon's eyepatch is on his right eye. Moshe Dayan's eyepatch was on his left eye. Shame on them. Roll Eyes

Dear Giovanni,

    You are attacking the eBAY example. Cathy's is the one in the middle with the really well painted scales.
You are right, it is totally modern, but quite nicely painted. Except for the crucifixion issue...  Grin
Best,
Joey


Dear Joey, what is really wrong is the presence of the two flaming pearls. Those dragons are not chasing, they are sharing! Grin Grin
Giovanni


Hahahaha Giovanni.., sharing is nice.

I really liked the one eye dragon with a patch.

Cheers,
YT
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« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2016, 09:28:08 am »

Dear Joey,
I indeed attacked all three bottles.
The one from Christie’s, which in my opinion is not of high grade. Dear Cathy, where it has been sold by Christie’s? Are you sure? I am really curious.
The Cathy’s one, and I explain why. Yes I agree, well painted, but that has no value to me, matter of my mentality. I prefer to have an original paint from a naïve painter than a perfect copy of the Gioconda.
The third one, that from ebay. I was referring to the dragon in the water when I did mention the crucified dragon. I may be wrong but I have never seen a dragon in water with both arms lifted.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2016, 10:14:43 am »

Dear Giovanni,

Here is the link to the Christie's red dragon:

http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/lot/a-chinese-iron-red-dragon-snuff-bottle-19th-5677481-details.aspx

Smiley

I am enjoying reading the discussion you guys have going on
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