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October 17, 2017, 04:52:31 am
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Conjoined Cloisonne - help with age

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Author Topic: Conjoined Cloisonne - help with age  (Read 299 times)
cshapiro
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« on: December 31, 2016, 01:16:44 am »

Cathy's Christmas Conjoined Cloisonne! Sorry couldn't help myself so had to do the alliteration! Wink

I almost didn't buy this one - but once it came I was so glad I did!

On one side there is an amber insert carving of a dragon. On the other, a phoenix carved in lapis.
The stoppers are amber and turquoise. The bottle itself is bats and clouds on a turqoise ground.

The inside is joined so it is just one cavity and has the same blue ground that you see on the base.
It is 6cm tall. 

I have not studied cloisonne very much at all and I can't find any references of similar bottles. Does anyone know where I can find similar bottles or have an idea of the age?





 

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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2016, 03:42:31 am »

What a wonderful bottle Cathy !

I will start searching for examples..

In the meantime, can you post a macro pic good enough to show if there are any air bubbles/pitting within the enamel ?
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« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2016, 12:52:54 pm »

Thanks George! It doesn't look like I have macro on my camera lens so this is the best I can do. There is very little pitting. The colors look like they were cleverly mixed - like the clouds are mainly white with tiny bits of blue, etc.

The bottle is so lovely and such fine materials were used in it that it doesn't matter to me if it's modern. I'm just curious to know more about it. Smiley

Thanks for your help! You are always so helpful!

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« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2017, 03:36:37 am »

Dear Cathy,
your bottle is obviously a not old one, as were many of the bottles listed in that Auction. The fact that it has two stoppers and a single cavity is a nonsense and that alone is enough to say that it is not old. But it is quite attractive due to the two stone insert. I too purchased some bottles of that auction. Have you bought some else?
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2017, 05:00:34 am »

Dear Cathy,
 
      I agree with Giovanni - it is made in the last 20 years. And there is no need for 2 stoppers if it has only one internal cavity.
Look at #77 in my 1987 catalogue to see a genuine late 18th/ early 19th C. cloisonne example. Genuine bottles are VERY simple in design, and the colours are quite dark and 'muddy' in tone.
Not much to study. Seen one, you've basically seen 'em all. That's why no major educated collectors tend to have more than 2 or 3. Whereas, in Nephrite Jades, one can buy lots and want more. At least I do.  Grin Wink Roll Eyes
Best,
Happy New Year,
Joey
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« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2017, 12:07:05 pm »

Thanks Giovanni and Joey. 

I was hoping it would have some age, but no matter - it is so well done that I will think of it as a modern piece of art.

I did find one reference to another one that was owned by a member of the ICSBS - a lady named Virginia Rice.

And yes Giovanni, I bought several bottles from that auction and enjoyed dealing with them very much. Wink
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« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2017, 03:26:08 pm »

Virginia Rice of Metairie, LA, was a dear friend of mine (and Rick's), but NO expert on snuff bottles.  She was more the 'anti-expert'. Using her as an example almost guarantees you get a negative opinion from anyone who knew her collection.  Roll Eyes Grin Wink
Joey
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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2017, 04:30:00 pm »

Dear Joey,

Thanks for the info. I did look at your example in your catalog. Very nice! On this one, I will think of it as a cabinet piece - something I enjoy that doesn't have much value.

I forgot to post the link to the reference: https://new.liveauctioneers.com/item/8540394_unusual-cloisonne-double-snuff-bottle-k20th-c-th

I have been getting into jades and have acquired two pebbles that I will post soon. Wink
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« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2017, 05:12:56 pm »


Cathy,

You reference a past auction with a similar bottle (i.e., the Rice bottle).  It appears to me that these were likely made a sets using various inset materials.  They may have been initially sold as a pair, or maybe even as a larger set number depending on the inset materials used.  The 2011 auction bottle references this as a 20th century bottle, and I agree with Giovanni and Joey on the age.  I however would have said roughly 1975 or a bit later.  I agree it is a nice contemporary piece and a novel design.

If I may ask, which auction did you acquire this bottle from?

Charll       
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« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2017, 05:57:11 pm »

Thanks Charll - I found the reference after I posted. I got this one from an auction at Bertolami fine arts in Rome.
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« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2017, 06:46:09 am »

Dear Charll,
 
       You could well be correct, though I'd date any of them after the end of the Cultural Revolution - say, post 1980. Virginia was collecting till the late 1990s, as far as I know.  I will ask our mutual friend, Rick.

  Dear Cathy,
 
      Please DON'T use the term 'cabinet bottle'.
It has a recognised meaning among snuff bottle collectors, and refers to those large, ornately carved  bottles primarily in stone or organic materials (Turquoise, Chalcedony, Quartz, Jade, Amethyst, Tourmaline, Coral, Ivory, Amber) from ca. 1850-1940, made to sell to wealthy Western tourists and collectors from the time of the steamship travel to China till the Japanese occupation of China.

    If you need a 'label', how about 'display bottle'? No-one who knows anything about snuff bottles will be confused by that term, since I just made it up.  Roll Eyes Grin
Feel free to indulge...
Joey




Cathy,

You reference a past auction with a similar bottle (i.e., the Rice bottle).  It appears to me that these were likely made a sets using various inset materials.  They may have been initially sold as a pair, or maybe even as a larger set number depending on the inset materials used.  The 2011 auction bottle references this as a 20th century bottle, and I agree with Giovanni and Joey on the age.  I however would have said roughly 1975 or a bit later.  I agree it is a nice contemporary piece and a novel design.

If I may ask, which auction did you acquire this bottle from?

Charll       
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« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2017, 05:07:48 pm »

Dear Joey, I will try to do better with terminology.

I do think cloisonne is worth collecting though, and from the examples I see at the major auction houses it would appear that not all the older bottles are dark and simple.

That has always baffled me because the other cloisonne objects (vases, figures, cups, etc) of the period are extremely well done. I have a friend in Nashville who collects cloisonne and so I have held and examined some beautiful genuine pieces from the Qing period.

Why then would the cloisonne on snuff bottles be different and not executed with the same level of skill and with the same bright colors being used in other objects?

Could you point me in the right direction to research this further or explain why this is?

I have put together some references from the major auction houses:

A CLOISONNÉ ENAMELLED 'MILLEFLEURS' SNUFF BOTTLE
Probably Imperial, attributable to the palace workshops, Beijing, 1760-1799
Sold for HK$ 162,500 (US$ 20,948) inc. premium
http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19621/lot/28/
---------------------
A CLOISONNÉ-ENAMELLED AND GILT-BRONZE 'BIRDS AND FLOWERS' SNUFF BOTTLE
Qianlong incised four-character mark and of the period
Sold for HK$ 187,500 (US$ 24,170) inc. premium
http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19621/lot/407/
---------------------
A CLOISONNÉ-ENAMELLED AND GILT-BRONZE 'CRANE AND DEER' SNUFF BOTTLE
Qianlong incised four-character mark and of the period
Sold for HK$ 200,000 (US$ 25,782) inc. premium
http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19621/lot/405/
----------------------
A FINE AND RARE CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL SNUFF BOTTLE
Qianlong incised mark and of the period
Sold for HK$ 216,000 (US$ 27,844) inc. premium
http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/18592/lot/272/
-----------------------
A 'FAMILLE-ROSE' CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL ON COPPER 'INDIAN LOTUS' SNUFF BOTTLE
Imperial, palace workshops, Beijing, 1750–1799
Sold for HK$ 225,000 (US$ 29,004) inc. premium
http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20309/lot/55/
------------------------
A RARE CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL SNUFF BOTTLE
Guangzhou, Qianlong incised four-character mark and of the period, 1760-1799
HK$ 200,000 - 280,000
US$ 26,000 - 36,000
http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19305/lot/360/
------------------------
Lot 8176
A CLOISONNÉ SNUFF BOTTLE
Qianlong mark
Sold for US$ 37,500 inc. premium
http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20983/lot/8176/
--------------------------
Lot 228
A cloisonné enamel snuff bottle and a white metal snuff bottle Each with a Qianlong four-character mark
Sold for £27,500 (US$ 33,801) inc. premium
http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20579/lot/228/
-------------------------
A CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL 'KUILONG AND SHOU CHARACTER' SNUFF BOTTLE
QING DYNASTY, 18TH / 19TH CENTURY
Estimate  60,000 — 80,000  HKD
 LOT SOLD. 106,250 HKD (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)
http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2015/snuff-bottles-from-mary-george-bloch-collection-part-x-hk0576/lot.8.html
---------------------------
A CLOISONNE ENAMEL ‘SHOU’ SNUFF BOTTLE
MARK AND PERIOD OF QIANLONG
Estimate  200,000 — 250,000  HKD
 LOT SOLD. 250,000 HKD (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)
http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2013/bloch-vii-hk0495/lot.108.html
----------------------------
A CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL SNUFF BOTTLE
IMPERIAL, PALACE WORKSHOPS, BEIJING, 1760-1820
Price realised
USD 8,750
http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/lot/a-cloisonne-enamel-snuff-bottle-imperial-palace-5977549-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=5977549&sid=3345aee2-a057-46f9-b06f-b4148eaf7886
-------------------------
 
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« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2017, 05:54:20 pm »

Dear Cathy,

      Most of those examples you listed are modern.  3rd from last is genuine, in my opinion. At least one of the lots describes Hugh Moss watching bottles being made in 1974. Two that I looked at (lot 8176 and lot 228) refer to the 1970s. One is described as having a Qianlong mark, NOT '...and of the period'. But even those described as '...and of the period', I don't accept.

    Because I have been seeing them since 1970, and only since the very late 1990s has Hugh Moss claimed they are genuine 18th C. and even Imperial.
Shoot, I had 5 at one time myself. And some had incised Qianlong marks. As soon as I got my genuine one from ca. 1780-1830, I immediately saw the difference between the pieces made after 1950 and the pieces made before 1880, much less before 1830.

    Pity you weren't collecting in May, 1981. I sold 5 as part of a big 'weeding out' of my collection, when I got rid of 34 bottles out of 151.

    Also, remember scale. The size of the snuff bottle versus the size of the other cloisonne pieces. The smaller the piece the harder to do detailed work, because detail in a small bottle has necessarily to be even smaller. But there is only so small they could do 200 years ago.
70 years ago or less, they had access to much better technology.


    Incidentally, Virginia bought her 'double-necked' cloisonne bottle at the Andrades China Friendship Store at Royal Hawaiian Shopping Centre during the 1981 ICSBS Honolulu convention, as a TOTALLY MODERN bottle.
   Best,
Joey

   



Dear Joey, I will try to do better with terminology.

I do think cloisonne is worth collecting though, and from the examples I see at the major auction houses it would appear that not all the older bottles are dark and simple.

That has always baffled me because the other cloisonne objects (vases, figures, cups, etc) of the period are extremely well done. I have a friend in Nashville who collects cloisonne and so I have held and examined some beautiful genuine pieces from the Qing period.

Why then would the cloisonne on snuff bottles be different and not executed with the same level of skill and with the same bright colors being used in other objects?

Could you point me in the right direction to research this further or explain why this is?

I have put together some references from the major auction houses:

A CLOISONNÉ ENAMELLED 'MILLEFLEURS' SNUFF BOTTLE
Probably Imperial, attributable to the palace workshops, Beijing, 1760-1799
Sold for HK$ 162,500 (US$ 20,948) inc. premium
http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19621/lot/28/
---------------------
A CLOISONNÉ-ENAMELLED AND GILT-BRONZE 'BIRDS AND FLOWERS' SNUFF BOTTLE
Qianlong incised four-character mark and of the period
Sold for HK$ 187,500 (US$ 24,170) inc. premium
http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19621/lot/407/
---------------------
A CLOISONNÉ-ENAMELLED AND GILT-BRONZE 'CRANE AND DEER' SNUFF BOTTLE
Qianlong incised four-character mark and of the period
Sold for HK$ 200,000 (US$ 25,782) inc. premium
http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19621/lot/405/
----------------------
A FINE AND RARE CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL SNUFF BOTTLE
Qianlong incised mark and of the period
Sold for HK$ 216,000 (US$ 27,844) inc. premium
http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/18592/lot/272/
-----------------------
A 'FAMILLE-ROSE' CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL ON COPPER 'INDIAN LOTUS' SNUFF BOTTLE
Imperial, palace workshops, Beijing, 1750–1799
Sold for HK$ 225,000 (US$ 29,004) inc. premium
http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20309/lot/55/
------------------------
A RARE CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL SNUFF BOTTLE
Guangzhou, Qianlong incised four-character mark and of the period, 1760-1799
HK$ 200,000 - 280,000
US$ 26,000 - 36,000
http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19305/lot/360/
------------------------
Lot 8176
A CLOISONNÉ SNUFF BOTTLE
Qianlong mark
Sold for US$ 37,500 inc. premium
http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20983/lot/8176/
--------------------------
Lot 228
A cloisonné enamel snuff bottle and a white metal snuff bottle Each with a Qianlong four-character mark
Sold for £27,500 (US$ 33,801) inc. premium
http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20579/lot/228/
-------------------------
A CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL 'KUILONG AND SHOU CHARACTER' SNUFF BOTTLE
QING DYNASTY, 18TH / 19TH CENTURY
Estimate  60,000 — 80,000  HKD
 LOT SOLD. 106,250 HKD (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)
http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2015/snuff-bottles-from-mary-george-bloch-collection-part-x-hk0576/lot.8.html
---------------------------
A CLOISONNE ENAMEL ‘SHOU’ SNUFF BOTTLE
MARK AND PERIOD OF QIANLONG
Estimate  200,000 — 250,000  HKD
 LOT SOLD. 250,000 HKD (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)
http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2013/bloch-vii-hk0495/lot.108.html
----------------------------
A CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL SNUFF BOTTLE
IMPERIAL, PALACE WORKSHOPS, BEIJING, 1760-1820
Price realised
USD 8,750
http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/lot/a-cloisonne-enamel-snuff-bottle-imperial-palace-5977549-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=5977549&sid=3345aee2-a057-46f9-b06f-b4148eaf7886
-------------------------
 
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« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2017, 06:37:55 pm »

Wow! So what about the huge prices on these bottles? Were the buyer's just duped?
I guess they way overpaid and made bad investments.
I can't believe you found out where Ms. Rice bought her bottle. Rick must have as long of a memory as you do! Wink

Also I learned something! Thanks
A Friendship Store (simplified Chinese: 友谊商店; traditional Chinese: 友誼商店; pinyin: Yǒuyì Shāngdiàn) is a state-run store in the People's Republic of China (PRC), which initially sold exclusively to tourists, foreigners, diplomats, and government officials, but now has no restrictions on customers.

History
The stores were state-owned and first appeared in the 1950s, when they were primarily frequented by the many Soviet experts assisting China's economic development. The stores sold Western, imported items, such as peanut butter and Hershey bars, as well as high-quality Chinese art and crafts. The prices were considerably higher than market prices in the country of origin, but as the stores operated as a monopoly for imported items, buyers had no other choice. The old Friendship Stores accepted only foreign exchange certificates as currency. Items for sale included also uncensored copies of Western literature such as The New York Times, and, hence, guards prevented anyone of Chinese appearance from entering. Often crowds of people would look in the door to see what was for sale.
A few stores remain open, especially in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Most closed with the abolition of foreign exchange certificates in the early 1990s, at which point foreigners could hold ordinary renminbi in the PRC.
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« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2017, 04:01:52 am »

Dear Cathy,
 
      Rick and I were both with Virginia when she bought it! I had bought the Li Kechang bottle enlarged 300% and featured on my 1987 catalogue Hebrew cover, and Virginia bought the cloisonne. Rick reminded me.

      The Chinese Friendship Store chain was originally just in China, and one had to buy in FEC (Foreign Exchange Certificates, a special currency purchased with foreign currency, primarily for foreigners and CCP members, who got paid in FEC, not Renminbi ('The People's Currency')  like the vast majority of people in China.
 
      Then they opened branches in places like Hong Kong and Singapore. In 1981, Andrade opened up the Andrade's Friendship Store, as a franchise from the PRC, to sell Chinese goods to the tourist and local markets in Waikiki.

[Andrade Resort Shops were owned by husband and wife team Richard and Selma Wheeler. Established in the 1950s. By 1970 there were eleven stores throughout the islands of Hawaii. Much of the stores’ merchandise was made in Hawaii by other well-known Hawaiian firms such as Alfred Shaheen and Kahala.].

   Joey
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« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2017, 12:18:10 pm »


Why then would the cloisonne on snuff bottles be different and not executed with the same level of skill and with the same bright colors being used in other objects?

Could you point me in the right direction to research this further or explain why this is?

 

These two links lack images for comparison, but maybe have a read..
http://snuffbottle.smfforfree.com/index.php/board,11.0.html
http://snuffbottle.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,54.0.html

I am not an expert, but I would imagine the level of difficulty is the same for other pieces just like snuff bottles.

I know there have been many discussions within the forum.. Maybe read through some of these topics..
http://snuffbottle.smfforfree.com/index.php/board,11.0.html

I can not recommend any specific books, but am sure there are many.
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« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2017, 01:30:40 pm »


    Yes, the same level of skill is available, but if your object is 2.5 inches high and 1 inch wide 0.7 inch thick, the miniaturisation of the design will defeat the level of technological ability available in the 18th & !9th C.

    And I've looked at genuine 18th & 19th C. cloisonnes in larger pieces  (vases, animals, candle holders, etc.) as well as smaller pieces (such as water droppers, snuff bottles, etc.), and the colours are ALL dark and 'muddy'. Even the white is a dreary 'muddy' off-white. I looked at all the cloisonne examples available in the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Nothing from before 1880 has bright or light colours. You see bright colours after 1950.

Best,
Joey


Why then would the cloisonne on snuff bottles be different and not executed with the same level of skill and with the same bright colors being used in other objects?

Could you point me in the right direction to research this further or explain why this is?

 

These two links lack images for comparison, but maybe have a read..
http://snuffbottle.smfforfree.com/index.php/board,11.0.html
http://snuffbottle.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,54.0.html

I am not an expert, but I would imagine the level of difficulty is the same for other pieces just like snuff bottles.

I know there have been many discussions within the forum.. Maybe read through some of these topics..
http://snuffbottle.smfforfree.com/index.php/board,11.0.html

I can not recommend any specific books, but am sure there are many.
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« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2017, 05:37:33 pm »

George - Thanks for the references. I will read more about this. I tend to be a stubborn analytical type person - guess that's pretty obvious by now! Wink

Despite the dispute about their age, I still find them lovely and am fascinated by the work that goes into making them. Maybe not lovely enough to spend $30,000, but certainly lovely enough for a few hundred dollars.

On my conjoined bottle, I think the amber insert alone made this a worthwhile purchase. I never mentioned that I didn't actually win this one. They came back to me and offered it as second chance after the original winner didn't pay.

Joey - what a memory you have! It constantly amazes!
 
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« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2017, 06:32:01 pm »

Hi Cathy

Is that piece of insert made up of Amber.... can't be sure from the pictures shown

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« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2017, 07:14:55 pm »

Yes, but Rick reminded me that Virginia thought she was paying US$45 for it, and was too embarrassed to not buy it when the charge was rung up as US$450! As I remember it, both Rick and I tried to get her to cancel the purchase, but she did not want to look cheap.
I would have said that US$45 was a fair price in 1981...
Best,
Joey


George - Thanks for the references. I will read more about this. I tend to be a stubborn analytical type person - guess that's pretty obvious by now! Wink

Despite the dispute about their age, I still find them lovely and am fascinated by the work that goes into making them. Maybe not lovely enough to spend $30,000, but certainly lovely enough for a few hundred dollars.

On my conjoined bottle, I think the amber insert alone made this a worthwhile purchase. I never mentioned that I didn't actually win this one. They came back to me and offered it as second chance after the original winner didn't pay.

Joey - what a memory you have! It constantly amazes!
 
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