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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
July 21, 2018, 06:55:03 am
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Fish Overlay

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Question: VJIkUP
QwMVQDUsSZXJzwMqK - 0 (0%)
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Author Topic: Fish Overlay  (Read 928 times)
Joey
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« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2017, 05:35:07 am »

Dear Adrian,

      I'm really bad at judging over the screen and not 'live'.
Steven is much better. So is Giovanni.

      But I don't understand one thing. If, as I think I understand from your explanation, they 'cast' the glass 'overlay' bits, do they glue them or somehow, succeed in fusing the blown glass bottle with the blown glass 'applique'?

      I find the latter hard to believe. And in order for it to be economically feasible, there would need to be lots of pieces to be sold. There aren't, as far as I can tell.

       I guess we'll have to wait till we can see better photos.
Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2017, 05:42:54 am »

Dear Jason,

     Many single colour and all multiple colour single overlays, were made by adding 'blobs' of colour and then carving it down. This means a lot less polishing on the background layer, since it has not been touched.

      But I've news for you: the type of Chinese artisans who could incise a whole Buddhist sutra on a grain of rice, can, should they desire, apply the colour EXACTLY where they want it. Usually, bad workmanship in China was and is due to balancing the exigencies of time and money. When they are paid well, it is done well. The reverse, is also the case.
Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2017, 01:21:03 pm »

Dear Joey,  I wasn't trying to imply Chinese workers aren't some  of the best and most highly skilled in the world, indeed I believe they are, however this is due to the low pay they receive, therefore they can spend far more time on their pieces and they are still affordable.

As for your remarks to Adrian, they can indeed cast shapes and apply them to bottles by fusing, however it would not be as easy as it is today as they didn't have such well regulated kilns. They would have however had to cut in the surface detail after the applied glass was fused onto the bottle. As for it being uneconomical, well not necessarily as snuff bottles have very limited subject matter. The small cast pieces could be applied in different combinations then you could end up with totally different bottles. Just a thought.

Regards Jason.
 
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Fiveroosters
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« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2017, 01:29:13 am »

Dear Jason,
I am not a glass maker, I have zero experience on that, I am just going by logic.
Nevertheless I think that what you said is impossible, and not for a single reason.
First, if you join two pieces by fusing you will have some deformation in the shape prior to reach the needed temperature.
Second, take for example the waves piece that form the base of the bottle in question. How do you handle that? It is extremely hot, and prone to collapsing/warping.
In any case, the process is not influenced by the accuracy of Kilnís temperature control. If you look at videos of blown glass making, the controller of the temperature is the worker. It is according to his experience and skill that he judges how much introduce the holding bar in the kiln and for how long.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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forestman
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« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2017, 03:17:53 am »

I just wanted to say that I only said it MAY be the case that Rube's bottle was appliqued and have since said that there seems to be evidence that suggest it's not the case.

The discussion on whether they could applique something like this is interesting though, at least to me.

We know there are glass bottles with appliqued bits applied and they were attached without compromising the base bottles shape. There are other types of appliques, the Tsuda family bottles and some cinnabar lacquer bottles with applied shaped stones for instance.

There are glass artists who sculpt with shaped pieces of flat glass built up in layers that are fused together in a kiln without distorting the glass. Glass doesn't need to be heated to the point where it's becoming pliable enough to easily distort in order to fuse together.

If I wanted to copy Rube's bottle by appliqueing the complicated base I would cover the lower third of my form in glass and when it was cold would start to shape the wave shapes while it was still on the form but without cutting all the way through. I would then do the surface carving when it was still on the form. I would then remove the glass from the form and finish the final shaping of the waves etc. I would mould a base bottle, polish off the mould marks, stand the base bottle in the completed base "overlay" and put it in a kiln until they had fused together. Voila, as my cheese chomping cousins across the Channel would say. 

Regards, Adrian.
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forestman
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« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2017, 03:29:52 am »

Here is an example of a Yangzhou style bottle of mine where the carver has not been able to maintain a perfect bottle shape and where there is a mixture of clean and not so clean carving of the base to overlay junction. It doesn't show on this picture but the base colour around where the overlay has been carved away is not perfectly smooth.

Regards, Adrian.


* P9200674_LI.jpg (68.23 KB, 611x810 - viewed 16 times.)
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« Reply #26 on: September 22, 2017, 05:14:36 am »

Hi Adrian,

Good explanation of how to copy Rube's bottle in modern times. I am an enamelist who also began fusing glass a few years ago. Today's kilns with reliable temperature controls combined with good instincts on the part of the craftsman can prevent distortion of cold-worked applied glass. As you indicated, the lower temperature used to tack fuse glass does not distort the glass if done properly.

I have such respect of glass workers and blowers of the past that had none of the controls and information available today. True artisians. I can honestly say that I am in awe of what they accomplished. From goblets to snuff bottles, a craft that is as complex as it is beautiful.

Regards,

Toni-Lee
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« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2017, 12:39:13 pm »

Hi Toni-Lee,

I spent a happy hour last night looking in detail at the overlay bottles in the Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottle books and the skill and time taken, especially when you also consider the very basic tools they had, is something to be in awe of as you say.

Regards, Adrian.

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« Reply #28 on: September 23, 2017, 12:30:25 am »

Dear Adrian,

       I do not know anything about the techniques, where you, Toni-Lee and Jason do seem to. On that, I've no argument. But it will be interesting to learn the provenance of Rube's bottle, re.possible dates of manufacture.

        But your adding the Tsuda family's wares and stones (etc.) set into Cinnabar Lacquer, to the discussion, really confused me. What possible connection can there be between the fusing of glass appliques to glass at heat, whatever heat it is, and the inset of stones, amber, lacquer and mother of pearl into jade or into Cinnabar Lacquer ?

Dear Jason,

       I'm sorry, possibly I was not clear. The 19th C. glass appliques I have seen in my 47 years of collecting, fall into 2 basic shapes: simple flower heads and simple leaves. And each has very simple incised detail: a circle and radiating lines on the flower heads, and a central line with pairs of lines originating from it, to imitate the leaf's veins.

       C'est tout, as Adrian's cheese-chomping cousins across the Channel would say. 
Or as the cartoon characters would say: "TH-a-a-a-t's ALL, Folks!"  Roll Eyes Shocked Grin
The options are not great. Either a single flower head on a leafed stem; or a plant with multiple stems as described above. In both cases, the 'stems'/'vines'
are produced by a thread of green glass. But again, one needs a certain temperature to fuse that glass thread to the glass bottle.

Best to All,
Shabbat Shalom,
Joey

       
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« Reply #29 on: September 23, 2017, 03:08:39 am »

Dear Joey,

I was just trying to say that bottles have been embellished without heat used to stick the pieces to the bottles as with the Tsuda bottles etc. So IF Rube's bottle was embellished/appliqued it could have been done with some form of glue and not heat.

I have looked at Rube's bottle in detail a number of times now and the feeling I have hasn't changed, it's all a bit squared off to be old. The junctions between base and overlay look too sharp to me, there should be a slight curving right at the junction and there doesn't seem to be. The fish doesn't look animated enough and the angles of the surface carving to the side carving of the overlay are too sharp as well, there is no real rounding off of the surface carving and no real sense of a final polishing having been given after the carving was done.

My feeling is mid 20th Century onwards from the pictures we've seen. The problem is that by far the best way to judge a bottle is when you have it in your hand as just turning a bottle so the light plays on it at a different angle can reveal aspects you would never see in a picture.

Regards, Adrian.
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« Reply #30 on: September 23, 2017, 03:54:06 am »

Dear Adrian,
with the premise that I totally agree with you about having a bottle in hands is completely different than judging it by pictures, I do not agree with the rest.
First at all, the rounded angle in the connection between the two layers are clearly there. Not visible everywhere but clearly visible in some points as I highlighted with the arrows. Are you perhaps looking at the pictures on a phone instead of a monitor?
And I continue thinking that it should be much much difficult to apply so perfectly matching parts, it really sounds against the logic to me. Besides that, if applied we should much probably see a thin layer of different color between them. 
To me, Rubeís bottle is just a very well-polished one.
But letís wait for further pictures from him.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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Rube
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« Reply #31 on: September 23, 2017, 07:39:49 am »

Adrian,

I've been fascinated by this back and forth about the fish overlay bottle! It reaffirms my initial questions about it, myself! I'm grateful for Giovanni's keen observations, but I'm still puzzled by the low level of detail on the ends of the waves.  And, I agree with Toni-Lee that you've hypothesized an interesting modern method of manufacture, if that's the case.  I will disagree with you on one point, however, and it's in regards to what you and Giovanni say, having the bottle in hand.  One of the first things that I was drawn by, before I photographed it, was the level of wear on the overlay.  Lots of it.  But, there were areas which weren't too, and those shinier areas didn't show in the photos. I promise to supply more photos next week, sorry for the delay everyone!

Cheers,

Rube.
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Joey
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« Reply #32 on: September 23, 2017, 07:46:57 am »

Dear Adrian & Giovanni,

     I feel like the rabbi in a Polish Jewish Shtetl, forced to settle a dispite between 2 congregants. After the first one spoke, he said, "You are right". And after the second one spoke, he again said, "And you are right".

     A man standing to the side, said "Rabbi, they can't both be right!". And the rabbi said to him, "You are also right".

    I see Adrian's points and they are valid; and I see Giovanni's points, and they too, are valid. But if Rube sees a lot of wear, when he has it actually in hand, that is the most valid.

    Rube, what is the bottle's provenance ?

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

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« Reply #33 on: September 23, 2017, 08:21:43 am »

Joey,

I wish I could tell you.  No idea. I'll read my grandmother's comments:  "Glass, single overlay of black on opaque white - carved with fish.  Nice as sitting on a continuous carved base" 

Compared to others on her list, this is a fairly lengthy description! Actually, it's only one of two bottles which she, herself, comments on the quality of the bottle.  I'll post the other next week.

Cheers,

Rube.
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Rube, 4th Generation Collector

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« Reply #34 on: September 23, 2017, 09:17:30 am »

Dear Rube,

    Your grandmother's having bought it is itself provenance.
What year did she buy it?
Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #35 on: September 23, 2017, 10:45:51 am »

Joey,
That was all the info I have.

Cheers,
Rube
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« Reply #36 on: September 23, 2017, 10:51:52 am »

Dear Rube,

     In what years was she buying snuff bottles? If we have the last year, that is the latest year in which she could have bought it. If she bought bottles from 1927 to 1970, then that gives us the time frame in which she had to have bought the bottle. Did she number the bottles, say from #1 to #375 (or whatever)?  If that bottle is listed as #27, then chances are it was early in her collecting. Etc.

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

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« Reply #37 on: September 23, 2017, 01:03:08 pm »

Joey,

Your questions seem quite logical, but I can't give you very good answers.  Here's what I know:

My GREAT grandmother had a collection of snuff bottles, how many?  I have no idea.  My grandmother inherited part of her collection.  Based on my own guesswork, she started collecting after 1912, when she moved to Hollywood.  But, it could have also been sooner, because her sister, lived overseas, and traveled all over the world, as her husband was employed with Standard Oil.  They had no surviving children, their one son died early on, in one of the first known cases of leukemia.  At any rate, some of her bottles came from the sister, and many others she purchased herself, (you remember the infamous Mr. Quon!) but all these bottles are listed as belonging to my great grandmother. My GRANDMOTHER bought some of her own bottles on her travels to China in 1929, in particular, 4 from the Ye Family (she paid a dollar apiece for them) and one very small Yong Shou Tien.  At this same time, my grandfather, though they were not married yet, also bought some IPSB's while in China from 1927, with HIS mother. Another  YST bottle, and a small Ivory figurine bottle of a woman, which I haven't yet posted.  He also had another IPSB but I haven't seen it yet, as it's in another aunt's collection. (Can't wait to photograph hers!)  So, fast forward a few years, and my grandparents marry.  They had good friends who lived in Asia, and these people bought many bottles from them over the years.  ( These are always listed as such.) In 1950, a dear friend's mother had to sell her collection, and they bought many of the bottles.  They came from S. Africa, and were always listed as such.  Then in 1951, my grandmother records a bottle being given to her by my grandfather.  Another in 1952.... a few more throughout  the 50's.  Bottles bought in the 60's were from trips to Asia, or through friends' in Asia. They joined the other Snuff Bottle Society in Hong Kong in 1971, and bought several bottles throughout these years until the late 80's. 

My grandmother started compiling her list in January 1, 1976.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to the order of her bottles, around 150 total.  I'm guessing she started pulling them off the shelf and tagging them.  This bottle was number 72, I believe, so, based on that, I'm guessing it was late 60's or 70's, but i'll have to cross reference with number 71, and 73 etc.

Cheers,
Rube.
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« Reply #38 on: September 23, 2017, 01:26:57 pm »

Joey,

So, I just looked at the list again.  Based on her list, the first bottle after Jan. 1, 1976, was no. 110.  So, anything before that had to be pre '76. So, we know the fish overlay bottle was purchased prior to 1976, but I don't know where or when. For example, no. 109 was from 1965.

Cheers,

Rube.
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« Reply #39 on: September 23, 2017, 02:54:15 pm »

Dear Rube,

      The Chinese were not making bottles like that any time before the late 1990s. So if it has to be pre-1976, it is 19th C. at the latest.
And the history of your family's 4 generation collecting is serious provenance.
Just so you know.
Best,
Joey
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