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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
April 19, 2018, 12:05:25 pm
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2 plain bottles, are they too plain ?

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Question: lKp1Au
LXMRfeAHPK - 1 (100%)
pDKCfllyxTSbORXXP - 0 (0%)
howpYixOrCOWMz - 0 (0%)
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VtDqoYLN - 0 (0%)
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Author Topic: 2 plain bottles, are they too plain ?  (Read 2361 times)
forestman
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« on: March 02, 2017, 03:51:01 pm »

I'm posting these two bottles because while they may seem like the most boring bottles out there I find them interesting.

Here are 2 purely functional snuff bottles. Apart from being shaped they are totally unadorned except by colour in one case, so would have been bought to be used, either by poorer people or those who had no interest in bottles as an art form.

They should be genuine bottles from the time when snuff was taken because who would fake bottles like these. It might be logical to assume they came from a later period when snuff taking spread to the lower classes who couldn't afford any better except they are not cheap glass as they are both surprisingly heavy.

The clear bottle doesn't appear to be blown as the sides have almost no thickness where they meet the base and the thickness of the rest of the sides is inconsistent. The opening is bevelled and the foot is well formed. The yellow bottles shape is not a common one, the foot is very fine and the glass has an old sense about it.

There may be little interest in them but that doesn't mean they are uninteresting in that they are genuine and can say something about other genuine bottles in a world with too many fakes.

Regards, Adrian.



 





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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2017, 04:04:01 pm »

Dear Adrian,
I like your bottles. An object that has the essential for its function is always beautiful to me.
I believe that the brownish one has the neck that has been filed down, it is too short. Probably because the rim had some damage. And I don’t think that the clear glass one has been carved from solid block as you suppose, just for the same reason that lead you to suppose that. If carved, the carver should stop before to reach a very thin thickness because of the risk of damage. Anyway, an inside inspection, paying attention to the light reflection so to see the surface texture, should tell you if it is carved or not.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2017, 04:26:55 pm »

Dear Adrian,
 
      I love both bottles! And I disagree with Giovanni over the neck of the yellow bottle (which is not as rare as you think; just earlier than you think Grin), because if one looks at # 45 in my 1987 catalogue, an 18th C. Suzhou carved Nephrite jade, one sees a neck with roughly the same proportion on a bottle with roughly the same shape.
I think it is 'right', as it is.

     And I wonder if the clear one is not quartz. I do NOT use the word 'crystal' unless it is modified by either 'lead', in the case of man-made crystal; or 'rock', in the case of 'rock crystal' [quartz]. But just using the correct term quartz is so much simpler, in my opinion.

    However, I DO agree with Giovanni, that when 'form follows function' as well as these two examples display, it is hard not to love them.

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

forestman
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« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2017, 04:59:46 pm »

Dear Joey and Giovanni,

I just dropped my clear bottle on the tiles on my kitchen floor whilst inspecting it with a loupe  Cry so it has more of a well used look to it now.

I did notice a bubble as it slipped out of my hand so not quartz but I would call it crystal in that to have the weight it has I liken it to what I know as lead crystal glass.

I wondered about the neck being taken down as it's still narrowing at the top which looks wrong in a way but it also has a few little nicks out of it so may not be the case and I'm happy to go with 18th Century  Grin

The base of the clear bottle has certainly been formed, bevelled on the outside of the foot and worked on the inside of the foot which doesn't show in the pictures. Also the hollowing in the shoulders looks hand done as the glass is thicker there where it can't be reached.

It's a funny thing in that we are here because snuff bottles became an art form. Had they remained purely functional like these bottles there would be little interest in them. These were cheap because few see them as appealing but perhaps at some point we see beyond the art form and go back to the purest form that started it off !

Regards to you both, Adrian.
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« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2017, 05:20:14 pm »

Dear Adrian,

     Oh G-D!!  Cry    I'm so sorry. 
BUT... why weren't you looking at it at a table, with a strong table light set up, and a towel on the table surface to cushion any drop from a few inches up?!

   This sounds like my late mom's story about the NYC Society matron who got home after a long lunch 'with the girls', to celebrate her successful purchase of a Ming dynasty Xuande marked porcelain vase earlier that morning.
She asked the maid if the vase had been delivered.
"Yes, ma'am" was the reply, followed by, "but putting it on the sideboard, it dropped and smashed! I'm so sorry. But it wasn't 'Ming', Madam. When it hit the floor it went 'ping'."

Best,
Joey

 
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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2017, 05:24:38 pm »

I'm so sorry. But it wasn't 'Ming', Madam. When it hit the floor it went 'ping', not 'ming'."

Hahahahaha! Cheesy
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« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2017, 06:07:46 pm »

Dear Adrain and all

First of all.. congratulation on winning these bottles. I almost wanted to bid on the yellow bottle too. I find it simple and elegant.

Also, is there any possibility that the yellow bottle is a carved bottle rather than a blown bottle? The irregularities and the non symmatricity, both inside and outside the bottle, seems to point to a bottle that is not blown IMO.

Pin
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五花馬,千金裘。呼兒將出換美酒,與爾同銷萬古愁。

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« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2017, 10:49:42 pm »

Not too plain at all Adrian.
As you can see from the responses, quite a number of people on the forum enjoy these unassuming bottles. The Japanese term for appreciation of understatement is 'shibui' and that applies here...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shibui

Thanks for sharing.

Tom
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« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2017, 11:01:30 pm »

I like them too, ...

Adrian

What a pity you damaged the clear glass one!   
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« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2017, 01:38:15 am »

Too bad Adrian! It happened to me too to damage peices while cleaning them. Very frustrating!
Giovanni
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« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2017, 03:00:51 am »

Thank you all for your comments, I was going to put them up as Friday Fun bottles as I didn't know what response they would get.

I normally have safe hands when handling things, my clear bottle was clearly made in the very brief "Fock" period as I've damaged my Focking bottle.

Pin, I do think the yellow one was carved from the uneven hollowing and the work on the foot. Did you win anything at that auction ? There was a lot there that interested me but I ended up being frustrated and not buying what I wanted apart from a Realgar bottle and the yellow one and the Realgar one is not as good as I hoped. I bought 2 others out of frustration which was a good lesson in how not to buy at auction.

Regards, Adrian. 

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« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2017, 03:31:59 am »

No... I totally forgotten about the auction... hahaah Grin

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« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2017, 05:33:17 pm »

Dear Pin and Adrian,
I remain with my idea that we are too easily surmising that a bottle is carved from solid block. In my opinion a carved bottle is easily identifiable. Even if perfectly polished, the surface structure is different from a normal glass surface. In this bottle for example, if you look at the surface inside the neck you can see a different surface than that of the interior. The inner neck surface has been grinded to make it perfectly round, the rest of the inner bottle not. As for the variation in thickness, remember that by looking at the bottle, the same way we see the picture, you are not looking at a cross section. A light variation in the curvature has a more or less pronounced lens effect, thus showing the thickness bigger or smaller than it is in reality. As you turn a bit the bottle, you see the apparent thickness changing. For example, in that picture if you look the thickness of the glass near the mouth, you will see that in the transparency it seems that it goes almost to zero, while indeed by looking at the top you see that the thickness is relevant there. The image below shows what I mean.
Kind regards
Giovanni


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« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2017, 06:45:52 pm »

I do not see any star shaped cracking on the base of either of these that we see quite often on blown glass bottles with a little age behind them..

Been following along here, and just want to say that I also like the yellow bottle very much..
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« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2017, 07:02:21 pm »

Folks

I am confused .. Look at the uneven contours of the yellow glass bottle inside. That seems to indicate that the bottle was hollowed out like is the case of hardstone. Why would anyone do that to a blown glass bottle ? To me this is a sign of carving out from an ingot made glass bottle. What am I missing ?
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« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2017, 02:02:36 am »

Dear Giovanni,

    I must say that I agree with both George's and Pat's observations.
Could someone make a composite view of the yellow bottle and #45 from my 1987 catalogue?
I think that might aid re.dating (not with the 'hollowed VS. blown' argument).
Thanks,
Shabbat Shalom,
Joey
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« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2017, 02:10:29 am »

Dear George,
the star crack is common but it is not a must, not all blow bottles has that.
Dear Joey, please read carefully the following.
Dear Pat, what you are missing is what I said in the previous post, which I thought was clear to understand, but it seems that it is not. Let’s try again.
Look at the yellow bottle, and you see an apparent unevenness in thickness. I call that “apparent unevenness” because it is exactly like that, it is apparent, not real at all!
Do you know what means cross section? Imagine to split that bottle in two halves, exactly on the plane where we are seeing the thickness now. If you will do that, only then you will see the real thickness, the real shape of the inside of the bottle, and you will see with ABSOLUTE certainty that it is completely different from what you think it is by looking at that picture.
Why that? Why we are not seeing the real thickness? Because the rounded sides are acting like a lens due to the curved surface. To works properly, a lens must have a perfect regular curvature of the surface. The slightest change in curvature introduces a big distortion of the image behind it. And of course the surface of the bottle is far from being a perfect regular curve (just because it is blown to me).
Anyway, regardless of understanding the reasons or not, I think that the image that I have shown are absolutely clear. Please look at that image. If you follow the thickness of the bottle you see that as it goes toward the mouth, it becomes thinner and thinner, and at the top it seems very thin. At the top, the thickness seems to be that between the two tips of the red arrows, less than one millimeter. Is that the real thickness? No! the real thickness is that between the two yellow lines, about 3 millimeters I would say. That is clearly showing that what we see is an APPARENT thickness and not the real one. That is not rebuttable, It is a fact and the image shows that.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2017, 02:17:31 am »

Dear Giovanni,

     I did not understand before, but do now! WOW!
'Douze point', as they say in the Eurovision!
Yes, I would have to agree that the evidence is that it is blown.
There are also mouth blown vessels. Would they have the 'star crack' that George mentioned
was missing from the base?
Best,
Shabbat Shalom,
Joey
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« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2017, 02:48:52 am »

Dear Giovanni,

I am adding a close up picture of the base of my very thin overlay bottle which is a blown bottle. You can see a sort of swirl in the glass in the base of the bottle. The other picture shows (not very well) what George mentions in that if you look through the bottom, from the bottom, there appears to be some cracking.

You can also see that the base of the blown bottle shows the glass to be thicker here which I would expect. My clear bottle doesn't have this thickness in the base and there is almost no thickness to the walls where they meet the base. There is also an inconsistency in the thickness of the sides which shouldn't be there in a blown bottle. The yellow bottle shows considerable inconsistencies in the thickness of the walls.

If you blow glass into a mould the outside shape is consistent and smooth and the inside should be as well so there shouldn't be the inconsistencies that you say distort the image. The only "apparent unevenness" happens where you highlight, that is at the neck, by a trick of the light but even that apparent change in the thickness is a smooth change.

Also look at the hollowing into the shoulders of both bottles. The shape of the shoulders of the yellow bottle allows a hollowing tool to reach into the shoulders so they are well hollowed. The clear bottle has thicker glass in the shoulders because the shoulders are a different shape so a hollowing tool cannot get into them as well.

I have just seen a quote in a book I have had delivered which I hadn't seen before. It refers to the Hsiang tsu pi chi which was written in the early 18th Century. It says the Palace had it's own brand of snuff for it's exclusive use. There was snuff from Canton for more general use that came in 5 colours, apple green being the most popular and the Canton snuff was considered superior to the Palace snuff. Robert Hall shows a plain glass bottle in Chinese snuff bottles II which is described as glass imitating jadeite and he says that snuff was highly valued and so the bottle was sometimes secondary to the very expensive snuff and with these 5 colours I now see mentioned there was perhaps more reason for some to show off the snuff.

Regards, Adrian.


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« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2017, 03:36:08 am »

Giovanni

Thanks for your detailed explanation and it would indeed make complete sense IF the unevenness in the contour was not there. I still maintain this is a hollowed out bottle. A blown bottle would not have that . Sorry for disagreeing.

Adrian

Fully agree with your points as an add on to what I wrote before. Thanks
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Pat
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