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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
May 26, 2018, 03:22:49 am
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Mythical Creatures Polychrome Enamel Snuff Bottle

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Author Topic: Mythical Creatures Polychrome Enamel Snuff Bottle  (Read 268 times)
rpfstoneman
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« on: March 12, 2017, 01:01:12 am »

All,

I have some spare time tonight and thought I would share a recent purchase.  I've always been attracted to these mythical creature porcelain designs.  Though this bottle is not of the highest quality, it is not a bad example of this leitmotif or reoccurring theme.

Here's where I need some help.  I'm looking at this bottle as being 1880's, but it may well be aged into the Republican Period up to 1910-1920's.  So I looking for any second thoughts and/or conformation on an age.

Any opinions?  Charll 



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« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 02:01:55 pm by rpfstoneman » Report Spam   Logged

Charll K Stoneman, Eureka, California USA, Collector Since 1979.

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George
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2017, 08:12:21 am »

Lovely bottle Charll... I also like very much these mythical themes and for the same reason I enjoy Famille Noir bottles with mythical themes.

It's late, but will look through some books later today to see if can find something similar for you..
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samsonlzj
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2017, 09:34:13 am »

Hi Charll,

Congratulations on your add! Well I haven't come across such caterpillar-like mythical creature before but I do like the anhua waves very much, that's one of my favorite features on any porcelain bottle! In my opinion that makes the bottle and the subjects on it even more mythical and charming!

Best,
Samson

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Samson - a young new collector desiring knowledge
George
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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2017, 09:46:44 am »

Is there a difference between "formalized" and "anhua" type waves ?

I am researching a bottle today, and will keep an eye out for something similar to this ...
« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 10:00:37 am by George » Report Spam   Logged

samsonlzj
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2017, 10:25:46 am »

Hi George,

Could you elaborate further on what "formalized waves" are? Anhua (暗花) in Chinese literally means hidden pattern.. Smiley

Best,
Samson
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2017, 11:45:29 am »

Hi George,

Could you elaborate further on what "formalized waves" are? Anhua (暗花) in Chinese literally means hidden pattern.. Smiley

Best,
Samson

The word formalized waves is used for #242 within The Art of Chinese Snuff Bottles, by Moss, Graham, Tang..  I do not know the difference as to why the word formalized instead of anhua was used for this bottle.. That is why I ask...  I guess for this bottle the waves are not "hidden", but more dramatic/pronounced or "formalized" ?


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« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 12:35:31 pm by George » Report Spam   Logged

rpfstoneman
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2017, 02:01:29 pm »

Quote
Why the word formalized instead of anhua was used for this bottle.

George and Samson,

I believe the difference here is that "formalized" in the case of the molded bottle is simply referring to it as part of the body (i.e., raised waves) created in the molding process. 

An hua, on the other hand,  means "hidden" decoration.  It is un-colored and only seen as impressions under a clear glaze or through transmitted light. The decoration is produced either by carving, incising or impressing the design into the porcelain before glazing and firing.

I would consider my bottle to be neither.  In the case of the bottle I posted I believe the body is glazed, the glazing is etched, and then fire.  I do not recall the term used for this process, but suspect that Giovanni may know of the top of his head. 

On a side note.  I always wondered how the etching was accomplished to fill the space between the un-etched spaces were the over-glazed enamels would be later applied after the first firing.  Either the areas would have to be masked off prior to glaze etching or maybe the creatures are lightly sketched onto the glazed before the etching is done.  Just a couple of ideas on how the open spaces are left open for the design.   

Charll
« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 02:19:16 pm by rpfstoneman » Report Spam   Logged

Charll K Stoneman, Eureka, California USA, Collector Since 1979.

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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2017, 05:49:22 pm »

Dear Charll,
congratulations for a very nice bottle; I am looking for one of this bottles since long time but up to now I have not been able to buy one.
Dear Samson, George, I don’t know if “formalized” is the correct name for the type of work that we see on Charll’s bottle, it is the first time I hear this. In my opinion it is not correct, as I am going to explain. George did ask if there is a difference between the type of background decoration and the anhua decoration. The immediate difference that one can see is that the work on Charll’s bottle can be spotted at a certain distance while the anhua decoration is only visible at a closer inspection. Let first talk about the easiest one, the anhua, which consist on etching the bare body of the piece, prior to cover it with transparent glaze. Note that it may be not clear to everyone that a white porcelain is not white because is covered with a white glaze. The glaze is indeed transparent almost like glass, the white belongs from the white porcelain body. Back to the anhua decoration, after etching the bare piece and glazing it, during firing the glaze melts and it tends to uniform its surface, filling the etched grooves. So the decoration, on the finished piece, is almost not detectable by touch. The decoration then is barely visible, it just changes the tone of white. It becomes much more apparent in transmitted light. Here below you will see a bottle, anhua decorated with clouds, as it looks normally and how it looks when lighted by inside. You can see that under normal illumination the decoration is really “secret”.
Now, dear Charll, about how your bottle is made. The technique mentioned by you, i. e. etching the glaze and then firing, is called “graviata”; but it is not the case of your bottle. I have two “dragons” bottles decorated that way. I have already said here how useful is a stereo microscope, which allows us the see an enlarged detail in three dimensions. It is a really useful tool, and today not expensive as it was in the past. Thanks to it, I too have been surprised to find out how this decoration is indeed made. So, first at all, the plain bottle, without any etching, is simply glazed with transparent glaze and then fired, ready to be decorated with over-glaze enamels as it is the standard procedure for the enameled pieces. Then the bottle is decorated with the black contour lines and the iron red. Then the contours are filled with the polychrome enamels. Then, the spaces not decorated are covered with an opaque white enamel, which is etched. There is the trick, it is simply the use of the “bianco sopra bianco” technique (white on white). All this is clearly seen through a stereo microscope, but dear Charll, if you inspect with a lens the area of the mouth, you will see that the upper side, where the stopper sits, is covered with the transparent glaze, and then on the neck, after the rim, you will see the white opaque enamel over it.
At this point, instead of “formalized”, the correct name of a bottle of this type should be in my opinion “decorated with a wave pattern in bianco-sopra-bianco technique”.
Kind regards
Giovanni


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aidan31
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« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2017, 06:36:36 pm »

Dear Giovanni-

Thank you for your wonderfully clear description of the difference between anhua and graviata (sgraviata)!  To those of us familiar with Chinese porcelains, the difference is known but to a novice it can be confusing.  Your succinct descriptions of each technique was GREAT.

Best wishes,
Rick
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rpfstoneman
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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2017, 06:37:35 pm »

Quote
So, first at all, the plain bottle, without any etching, is simply glazed with transparent glaze and then fired, ready to be decorated with over-glaze enamels as it is the standard procedure for the enameled pieces. Then the bottle is decorated with the black contour lines and the iron red. Then the contours are filled with the polychrome enamels. Then, the spaces not decorated are covered with an opaque white enamel, which is etched.

Thanks Giovanni for the process indicated above.

Just to paraphrase back, so color enamel is applied to a clear glaze bottle.  The white enamel is applied to fill the spacing between the applied colored enamels and butts up with the applied colored enamels (or black outlines in this case) . The white enamel is then etched and the bottle is fired the second time.  So it is simply an etched over-glazed enamel bottle.    Smiley

I'll have to take a close look with a loop.

Okay this makes sense on the process.  So know I'm looking for an age conformation.

Charll
« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 06:45:14 pm by rpfstoneman » Report Spam   Logged

Charll K Stoneman, Eureka, California USA, Collector Since 1979.

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