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October 17, 2017, 01:24:02 pm
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Snuff bottle hollowing quote.

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Author Topic: Snuff bottle hollowing quote.  (Read 858 times)
forestman
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« Reply #40 on: August 03, 2017, 07:28:26 am »

Hi Tom,

Do you want to wait to see if my conclusions marry up with yours ?  Smiley
Regards, Adrian.
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George
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« Reply #41 on: August 03, 2017, 07:57:58 am »



What is so useful in all the A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles books is that they give mouth opening sizes and, from the point of view of hollowing, I am trying to see if there is anything to be gained from looking just at mouth openings to degrees of hollowing, bottle style, school of carving etc.


I gave something like that some thought at one time, but never really came up with anything..
http://snuffbottle.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,827.0.html
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Wattana
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« Reply #42 on: August 03, 2017, 08:08:51 am »


Do you want to wait to see if my conclusions marry up with yours ?  Smiley
Regards, Adrian.


Good idea Adrian.
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Tom
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forestman
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« Reply #43 on: August 04, 2017, 08:55:02 am »

Hi George,

The text about a coral bottle in A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles talks about the point you raised.

"The hollowing also proves the fallacy of the rule of thumb that is currently circulating that modern hardstone bottles can be differentiated from old ones by the profile of the neck drilling. It holds that old bottles have the mouth drilled down in a cylindrical shape for the entire depth of the neck, whereas modern ones go in at an angle, facilitating the hollowing process."

It seems just as possible for old or new bottles to have an opening up of the neck the deeper it goes as the illustration from Hugh Moss's book I posted shows. The drills used to open up the interior would need to be of a smaller diameter than the initial drill used to first form the neck opening in order to get an angle into the bottle. It could be that with modern tools that the reverse is true, that modern bottles have the neck opening drilled straight down and remaining parallel.

It goes on to mention Zhang Yishu's comment "When the vulgar with their little knowledge use it as the basis of argument, it always turns out to be the most superficial nonsense".

He was referring specifically to dating by width of mouth.

I must be vulgar and certainly accept to having little knowledge but I'm not specifically trying to see any correlation to width of mouth and dating although looking at what I've found it throws up some thoughts.

Regards, Adrian.
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Joey
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« Reply #44 on: August 04, 2017, 09:37:13 am »

Dear Adrian,

     Vive le Vulgar, I say!  Roll Eyes Shocked  Grin
Shabbat Shalom,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

forestman
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« Reply #45 on: August 04, 2017, 01:32:19 pm »

Thought I would post my vulgar list.

Mouth openings from 469 bottles from the Bloch collection Jades, Quartz and Stone and the same from the Markovic Collection which wasn't big on Jade, Quartz or Stone. Sizes are in centimetres so .50 is 5mm.

The 4 boxes show the 4 highest numbers of bottles of a given mouth opening and represent 114 of the 469 bottles or about 24% of the total.

Any thoughts ?

Regards, Adrian.


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George
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« Reply #46 on: August 04, 2017, 04:55:06 pm »



Any thoughts ?



I am just not sure what to make of this Adrian...
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Wattana
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« Reply #47 on: August 04, 2017, 11:20:08 pm »

Interesting research Adrian. I have taken a rather different approach.

Tom
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Tom
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forestman
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« Reply #48 on: August 05, 2017, 02:00:15 am »

I can say that there doesn't seem to be any relation between degree of hollowing and opening size.

The second smallest opening of 3.4 mm is on the bottle hollowed out to almost egg shell thinness which is an anomaly and the smallest opening of 3 mm is on what is one of the better hollowed coral bottles.

It does suggest that there was a degree of uniformity in sizes of drill bits/core drills that were made.

I assume there would be some degree of polishing of the openings to remove any marks left by the drill bits and slight tolerances in making drill bits to exact sizes.

When you look at the four most common openings and include openings of 0.1 and 0.2mm larger you account for 42% of the bottles. If you then include 0.1 and 0.2 mm smaller you account for 60% of the bottles.

Regards, Adrian.
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« Reply #49 on: August 05, 2017, 06:25:00 am »

Dear Adrian, all,
what sounds incredible to me is that the technology is not known. I can't believe that in China there is nobody that knows how stone bottles were hollowed.
BTW I too have bottles with small opening and extremely good hollowing.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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forestman
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« Reply #50 on: August 05, 2017, 08:03:51 am »

Dear Giovanni,

I think that it makes sense that old bottles can be hollowed better through narrow openings than new bottles.

People nowadays don't have the patience required to spend day after day hollowing a single bottle. It may have taken weeks to obtain a well hollowed bottle as there are many references to jade carvings taking a year or more to complete.

Now it is a question of what size of rotary tool can be used to hollow a bottle and that dictates the size of the opening. If they were using a bent piece of metal or wire it could easily be thin enough to go through a narrow opening. The fact that they worked this tool to and fro and not in a rotary way makes all the difference.

There are references to Jade shaping being done by soft materials worked constantly over the surface with mineral powders in a paste and I have used a bamboo skewer cut at 45 degrees with carbide powder in olive oil to polish stone or glass.

Forming the opening with tube drills also makes sense, you are removing far less material so achieve results much quicker especially when you consider how primitive the tools were. I have seen references to reeds being used as the drill tube, also bamboo and grooved copper tube with the grooves tending to hold the mineral dust in place. 

With all the detailed records kept of every aspect of Imperial production there must be some reference somewhere of orders for tools used to make snuff bottles that would throw some light onto production techniques.

Regards, Adrian.

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Rube
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« Reply #51 on: August 05, 2017, 11:16:51 am »

Adrian,

May I ask what you were polishing with a bamboo skewer bent at 45 degrees?  Do you work with stone and glass often?

Cheers,

Rube.
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« Reply #52 on: August 06, 2017, 09:26:59 am »

Dear Adrian,
because you are doing your research about the topic here, I have found in another place the following quote:
"I have found reference to Wang Shixiang’s 王世襄 article in JICSBS, Winter 1997, pp. 4 –13, for the various methods of producing gourd snuff bottles, however cannot find a copy to view."
I don't know if it was referred only to porcelain bottles, or to double gourd bottles in general, including stone. It could be interesting if some member here has that article.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #53 on: August 06, 2017, 10:54:35 am »

Dear Giovanni,

    Do you know what a gourd is? It is the 'fruit' of a gourd vine.

    That article is about growing gourds and making them into snuff bottles. There were natural gourd shaped snuff bottles, and gourds grown into multiple part molds which forced the gourd as it was growing, to take the shape of the interior of the mold, and even the decoration carved into the interior surface of the mold. For an example, look at #72 in my 1987 catalogue. The Palace Workshops produced a number.

   PLEASE disregard the BS explanation of the glass mold. I now know that there were molds in wood with 2 to 5 parts, for growing the gourds in. Not glass molds you had to break to get the object out.  Wink  Roll Eyes
Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #54 on: August 06, 2017, 12:09:24 pm »

Dear Joey,
thank you. I did understand "producing snuff bottles" as "making snuff bottles". But I must say that it is not my fault, it is lack of precision of the writer of the article. "Making" is equivalent to "producing" (industrial production, for example), while "growing" is more specific.
Kind regards
Giovanni

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forestman
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« Reply #55 on: August 08, 2017, 02:16:58 am »

Hi Rube,

Sorry for the delay in replying. I have been having a Mid Life Crisis and riding a motorbike in the rain through mud in a forest in Wales for two days.

I have only done a few experiments with polishing to get a feel for how these bottles would have been worked. I did make a "floater" out of a horrid modern stone bottle which was interesting to do.

Regards, Adrian.
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« Reply #56 on: August 08, 2017, 08:15:13 am »

Dear Giovanni,

    Sorry, but I just couldn't resist. You were so obviously mentally focused on hardstone snuff bottles shaped like a [double] gourd, that you didn't use your amazing faculties of discernment to imagine that the article might be about  actual natural gourds themselves.

   The author should have added 'natural' or 'grown' as an adjective to "Gourds",  in the title.

   Your confusion reminded me of the East Asian (Chinese? Japanese?) parable of the blind men, brought to an elephant, each allowed to touch one part and then describe the beast. One touched the tail, another touched a leg, another an ear, another the skin, another the trunk, and yet another an ivory tusk. Each had a totally different mental picture of the pachyderm.  But the sighted person saw the whole picture.

  In this case, having already seen the article, I was 'the sighted person'.
Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #57 on: August 09, 2017, 07:10:50 am »

Adrian,

No worries!  By all means, Ride On!

Cheers,

Rube.
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« Reply #58 on: August 12, 2017, 01:36:32 am »

As I've been looking at mouth opening sizes I wanted to add this from Bonham's sale of a Bloch Sapphire bottle.

In 1888 Zhang Yishu wrote some supplementary remarks to Zhao Zhigian's Yonglu xianjiie. He comments that originally the size of a snuff bottle mouth might exceed 12mm but that later this changed so they would not exceed 6mm.He puts no date on this change, but if we look to hardstone bottles with mouths less than 6mm for further information, it would be seen that by the Qianlong period, and particularly the second half, the smaller mouth was already established.

From the Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles there were a number of jade bottles that were well hollowed but not into the base and that was considered a sign of Imperial production with the thought that the high numbers of rooms in the Imperial palaces may have meant a snuff bottle being in each room ready for use and a heavier base may have made them more stable when left as opposed to carried.

Regards, Adrian.
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« Reply #59 on: August 31, 2017, 05:23:34 pm »

I'm adding the following because I have the information to hand.

I hadn't previously realised that glass bottles had the openings in the neck drilled to tidy up what would have been a less uniform opening left by the blowing process, whether it be free blowing or blowing into a mould. So I can now add all the glass bottles from the Bloch and Markovic collections to my previous figures.

From 550 glass bottles the sizes that occur the most are;

6mm     58 bottles
7mm     53 bottles
6.5mm   42 bottles
8mm      31 bottles
These four sizes account for 33.4% of the total number.

For 469 Jade, quartz, stone etc.

6mm      38 bottles
5mm      28 bottles
7mm      27 bottles
5.5mm    21 bottles
These four sizes account for 24.3% of the total number

Combine all these and there are 1019 bottles.

6mm       96 bottles
7mm       80 bottles
6.5mm    54 bottles
5mm       50 bottles
These sizes account for 27.5% of all the bottles.

As before I don't really know what use this is but it is surprising that the 4 most common sizes correspond to metric sizes and point to some consistency in the manufacture of drill bit sizes although the latter is to be expected.

Regards, Adrian.
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