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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
January 23, 2018, 11:52:45 am
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Rattan or Sea Amber?

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Question: 48yyt
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Author Topic: Rattan or Sea Amber?  (Read 236 times)
Rube
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« on: August 16, 2017, 04:47:11 am »

Hi Everyone,

I'm sharing another bottle with you which was purchased in 1964 in Hong Kong.  According to the list, "the man said it was rattan."  Does anybody have experience with the root of rattan, as being a material for snuff bottles?

Recently, I was perusing the upcoming Eldred's auction, and lot number 486, http://www.eldreds.com/auctions/detail/item/236208/sale/877/dept/35
 
shows a very similar bottle, made from sea amber.  Is there such a thing?  Both bottles have signs of growth rings, and my bottle feels more brittle like amber, than wood. And the brighter orangish coloration seems more in character with amber than wood.  Any help with the material identification and dating of this bottle would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers,

Rube.


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Rube, 4th Generation Collector

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Wattana
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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2017, 04:57:11 am »

Sorry Rube,

I have never heard of rattan root being used for snuff bottles. But, hey, since there are bottles made of tangerine peel and shark skin, anything is possible.

Neither have I heard of amber being referred to as 'sea amber' before. But your Eldreds link is spot on. Looks like exactly the same material - whatever it may turn out to be.

Tom
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Tom
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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2017, 05:13:54 am »

I don't pretend to be any sort of an expert and with out handling it, it is even more difficult, but looking at your pictures I think it could be wood/root. My advice, lick it! what does it taste like. Taste rarely lets you down. Interesting bottle by the way.  Grin
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Pat - 查尚杰
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« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2017, 05:20:41 am »

Agree that this is probably some wood root.   
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Best Regards

Pat
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Rube
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« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2017, 05:31:35 am »

Thanks for your thoughts Pat and Tom.

Jas,

You made me lick the cicada bottle too!  Well, I did, and it doesn't taste like anything really, but after I licked it, I smelled it, and there is a faint trace of wet wood smell.  I also tried the wool test, and it wouldn't pick up any tissue.  So, it probably is some kind of root. And, it very well could be the finish on the bottle that gives it the orangish color. Varnishes amber over time as do shellacs.

Cheers,
Rube.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 05:37:43 am by Rube » Report Spam   Logged

Rube, 4th Generation Collector

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« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2017, 05:48:22 am »

Rube,

I just googled "images for sea amber", and it appears to refer to Baltic amber, which is mostly of a distinctly orange hue.**

I guess the lick test is pointing you in the direction of wood now.

Tom

**PS: Last week I read the following account:
A woman was beach-combing along the banks of the Elbe near Hamburg, Germany, when she picked up what she thought was a lump of amber, except that it was a little whiter than normal. She turned it over in her hands a few times before putting it in her jacket pocket to examine more carefully later. She then left the jacket on the beach nearby while she carried on strolling. Luckily she had taken off the jacket, because a few minutes later it burst into flames. 
The "amber" turned out to be white phosphorus from an incendiary bomb dropped on Hamburg by the British during WW2. It had remained 'dormant' while wet for all those years, but ignited as soon as it began to dry out and was exposed to air.   
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 05:50:24 am by Wattana » Report Spam   Logged

Tom
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Rube
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« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2017, 05:51:51 am »

Wow! 
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« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2017, 05:53:46 am »

Yeah, be careful what you lick...!!!  Wink
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Tom
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« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2017, 08:19:04 am »

Us dammed Brits get blamed for every thing.  Grin Grin Grin
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« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2017, 08:23:30 am »

Rube,

I'm just trying to kill you off so I can get my hands on some of your bottles.  Grin
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Rube
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« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2017, 07:13:04 pm »

Jas,

That's funny!  Just remember, only a fraction of the bottles I post are mine, I've got a lotta junk, too.
I have to say, the lick test is a good one!

Thanks again,

Rube.
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Rube, 4th Generation Collector

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« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2017, 05:58:13 am »

Dear Rube,
 
     In the 1970s, Y. F. Yang was selling bottles similar to yours, called  'sea root', supposedly from trees that had been submerged in water for millions of years and had undergone some chemical transformation partial or total, like that of amber. It was similar to 'root amber', but not as fossilized.

     In root amber, the different minerals that were in the root give the different colours to the amber. I used to have 2 root amber bottles. One is illustrated in my 1987 catalogue (#69). It is hard to see, but the material has an assortment of shades of yellow, brown and red.

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

Rube
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« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2017, 07:30:28 am »

Joey,

Is "sea root" the same as "sea wood"?  Though this bottle looks markedly different from the last I posted, it was listed as "sea wood". I was going to save it for a Friday fun bottle because of the eyes... I'm assuming these were added and not original to the bottle?!? This bottle appears to have been filed down, as it measures 53mm w/o stopper.

Cheers,

Rube.


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Rube, 4th Generation Collector

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« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2017, 05:39:38 am »

Joey,

I noticed one of your books just came up for auction on Ebay yesterday.

I will be bidding on it!

Cheers,

Rube.
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« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2017, 08:39:48 am »

Rube,

Joey may outbid you......just to get it back !!!   Grin  Grin

Tom
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« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2017, 12:31:24 pm »

Another beautiful bottle Rube !

My guess is that sea root would be the best description instead of sea wood..
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Rube
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« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2017, 01:14:14 pm »

Thanks George,
I just saw another one at auction and bought it, I'll post the comparison though it won't have the eyes added!

Cheers,
Rube
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« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2017, 09:02:33 pm »

Hi Rube,

I completely overlooked commenting on the bottle you posted!

Yes, the eyes sure make this a Friday Fun Bottle. If you think the eyes were highlighted later, you could 'retro finish' by darkening them. The bottle has a lot of charm......but the eyes would haunt me as they are. Do they glow in the dark?  Cheesy

Tom 
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Tom
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« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2017, 10:45:58 pm »

Rube and Tom,

The green eyes are just right, looking 'loudly' at you ! Don't mind putting the bottle among mine in the display cabinet. It watches over the rest  Cheesy Cheesy

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« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2017, 10:51:57 pm »

Rube,

Your ' sea wood ' bottle reminds me of one of mine which I still could not be 100% sure if it is made of hard wood or other organic material  Sad Sad ( see attached )

Inn Bok


* image.jpeg (1791.1 KB, 2592x1936 - viewed 7 times.)

* image.jpeg (1359.67 KB, 2592x1936 - viewed 5 times.)
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