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January 23, 2018, 07:42:47 am
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Hornbill bottle

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Author Topic: Hornbill bottle  (Read 307 times)
Rube
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« on: July 13, 2017, 09:56:36 am »

Hi Everyone,

I'd like to share a hornbill bottle that I recently photographed for my brother.  It was purchased in Hong Kong in 1971.  I'm calling it a spade shaped bottle with a recessed foot.
It measures 4.4 cm, and has a lapis stopper with a malachite collar.  Based on it's rather simple design and fairly nice carving, (it's plain on the reverse) and paler color, I'm hoping it's a middle period example?  As always, any help is greatly appreciated!

Cheers,

Rube.


* FullSizeRender hornbill 1.jpg (73.87 KB, 480x640 - viewed 26 times.)

* FullSizeRender hornbill 2.jpg (64.61 KB, 480x640 - viewed 26 times.)

* FullSizeRender hornbill 3.jpg (70.07 KB, 480x640 - viewed 18 times.)

* FullSizeRender hornbill 4.jpg (98.7 KB, 480x640 - viewed 20 times.)
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 08:41:52 pm by Rube » Report Spam   Logged

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George
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« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2017, 10:36:24 pm »

I can not help with dating your beautiful bottle, but amazed at how the carver was able to calculate matching dragon handles.. Would have to have been cut out of just the right area from the bill.

Thanks for sharing this one, and looking forward to hearing guesses for age.

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Wattana
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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2017, 12:23:24 am »

Hi Rube,

Thanks for sharing this one! Unfortunately the vast majority of hornbill bottles were produced in Hong Kong workshops subsequent to the publication of Lilla Perry's book in 1960, in which she effused the rarity and value of snuff bottles made of this material. Her book unwittingly pushed market demand to the point where these magnificent birds were almost driven to extinction.
 
From the pictures alone (never easy to make a firm judgement without handling) I would have to date this bottle 1960 up to the year it was bought - 1971. The size, shape and carving style of older bottles is quite different.

But let's hear what Joey has to say. He has more experience of handling hornbill bottles than I.

Tom

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Tom
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Rube
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« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2017, 03:16:27 am »

George,

I've always marveled at how the handles were laid out on this bottle too!

Tom,  I'm aware of the negative impact the Perry book had on the hornbill population,
which is pretty upsetting. Before reading her book, I bought one at auction 8 years ago, in the shape of a cicada, which I suspect is modern.  I did come across one image of a bottle, plain on the back, and nearly the same shape as this one, from Moss's Snuff Bottles of China, which he dates 1900-66.  Here are a few more images...

Cheers,

Rube.


* FullSizeRender hornbill base.jpg (78.45 KB, 480x640 - viewed 17 times.)

* FullSizeRender hornbill reverse.jpg (56.28 KB, 480x640 - viewed 14 times.)
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« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2017, 03:55:51 am »

Hi Rube,

Thanks for the extra photos. The way the base is carved is unlike most of the modern examples. And I hadn't realized the other side was plain. Two points which may point to an earlier date.

Nevertheless, the small size is an indicator that a spike in demand was pushing hunters to capture younger birds. Ones with larger casques were increasingly hard to find.

I acknowledge similarities to the Hugh Moss example. But bear in mind that his book was written over 45 years ago. A lot more is known about snuff bottles now than then.  

Tom
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« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2017, 09:50:03 am »

Dear Rube,

What a nice bottle! And I tend to agree with Tom re. its dating..

I've always been fascinated about the material for its natural color and rarity. Unfortunately due to the current restriction imposed by CITES, it's impossible to legally import such material into Hong Kong, so I can't get hold of one unless it's available locally. I saw a beautifully carved hornbill bottle on the recent HK antique fair in May, with an asking price of HKD40,000 which is roughly USD5,000. However for the same reason Tom mentioned I have reservation that it's old although its seller claimed it to be of Qing period.

Best,
Samson

 

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« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2017, 10:09:51 am »

Hi Rube,

I was so focused on answering your question about dating, that I overlooked saying how attractive the bottle is!

Tom
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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2017, 02:56:42 pm »

Hi Rube, I like your bottle, however I don't think it Is much past the middle of the last century as the colour looks to dark to be older, also the older bottles tend to have small cracks in them which I cant see in yours. I would still like to own it. I bought one some 20 years ago but I have never seen another one for sale since then. Thanks for sharing.   Jas.

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« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2017, 04:05:21 pm »

Dear Rube,

    In Dec. 2015, I bought one of the genuine late 18th/early 19th C. examples from the O'Dell Collection, # 75, I believe; sold with 58 other bottles to a Mr. Servier in Paris in 2005.

    Yours is ca. 1960-1971, as Tom surmised. The size is a giveaway. All the genuine early bottles, and also those made between ca.1850-1910, are
about 60-65 mm tall, 55-60 mm wide, and 15 mm thick.
 
    And there are a lot of age cracks.

    Yours is nicely made and better than the average; but still post Perry book.
Best,
Joey
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Rube
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« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2017, 05:16:54 pm »

Tom, Samson, Joey and Jas,

Thank you all for your comments.  Visually, I really like this bottle, though I'm sorry it's probably post 1960.  Tom, I never thought about the size, and it being an indicator of harvesting hornbill from less mature birds, that's a great clue.  For fun, I'll dig up the one I bought at auction and photograph it and look forward to your comments... I'm guessing Joey will say "modern crap"!

Cheers,

Rube.
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« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2017, 06:37:15 pm »

All,

Here's another bottle I bought 8 years ago.  I think it is a cicada, measuring 6.1 cm.
I've thought it to be a modern bottle, made from hornbill, but upon further investigation, I'm not even sure it's hornbill?!?  What do y'all think?

Cheers,

Rube.


* FullSizeRendercicada1.jpg (121.72 KB, 480x640 - viewed 17 times.)

* FullSizeRendercicada2.jpg (67.44 KB, 640x480 - viewed 14 times.)

* FullSizeRendercicada3.jpg (106.03 KB, 640x480 - viewed 14 times.)

* FullSizeRendercicada4.jpg (85.25 KB, 480x640 - viewed 13 times.)
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« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2017, 09:09:27 pm »

Most likely bone I would think

Pin
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Pat - 查尚杰
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« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2017, 09:52:27 pm »

Agree with Pin.  Probably dyed bone, but it may very well be resin....
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Pat
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« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2017, 10:43:46 pm »

Dear Pat,

Credit to Pin not me... Roll Eyes Cheesy

Best,
Samson
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« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2017, 10:52:47 pm »

Haha .. Sorry Pin!!!  I guess I was not awake..  Need more coffee.  Thanks for correcting me Samson!
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« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2017, 02:45:47 pm »

Hi Ruby I also thought bone, but having blown up your pictures I cannot see the usual dark dots indicating were the blood runs through the bone perhaps you could have a closer look. One sure way to find out is to lick it to see if it is resin! I bet you don't fancy that idea though.  Grin   Jas.
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Rube
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« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2017, 10:54:33 am »

Pat and Jas,
I did the taste test and there was nothing. I do see some evidence of grain near the neck, though.
Cheers,
Rube
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Joey
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« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2017, 03:48:40 pm »

Ay Carumba! Do I hear someone playing 'La Cucaracha'?  Roll Eyes Shocked Grin
But I'd not call it 'modern crap'; I'd call it 'Obama-period effluent'.
Best,
Joey
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« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2017, 07:01:45 pm »

Joey,
That's hilarious! Well, I did buy it in 2009...
Cheers,
Rube
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« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2017, 09:05:32 pm »

There you go!  Grin
Best,
Joey
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