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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
April 19, 2018, 06:51:39 am
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Yellow Glass Immortals Riding a Tortoise

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Author Topic: Yellow Glass Immortals Riding a Tortoise  (Read 87 times)
SBNut
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« on: March 14, 2018, 01:04:08 pm »

Hello all,

I apologize for my disappearance on the board, I was fairly ill and it took up quite a bit of my time so I couldn't focus on these beauties. Since I haven't posted any of my collection yet I thought I would start with my most bizarre and interesting bottle.

The piece is a nice egg yolk yellow glass which is finely carved. It is a giant tortoise with 4 immortals riding on top, which all seem to relate to immortality or longevity as one of these individuals has a monkey face whom I assume is Sun Wukong which leads me to believe this may be something relating to the Journey to the West. The large rotund seated figure is possibly Zhu Bajie and the two others I cannot seem to figure out. While the head has no attachment feature I am unsure how it should attach to the body (unless at one point it had a collar) as I cannot figure out how a bit of glue would keep it secure. Im certain its somewhat modern but its quite unique I have never seen anything like it before. I hope the photos upload properly and the quality is alright, I tried to match the colour as close as possible. Anyways, I look forward to your opinions! Thanks!

Height - 6.6cm
Diameter (base) - 5.5cm
Weight - 215g

~Daniel


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forestman
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« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2018, 12:54:03 pm »

Hi Daniel,

Sorry to hear you were ill and I hope you are on the mend now.

I used to watch a Chinese series on TV here in the UK many years ago now which may have been based on the Journey to the West which is not a story I am familiar with. The 3 main characters were Monkey, Pigsy and Tripitaka ? They were on a journey with a priest who was later found to be female much to the others surprise. The Monkey character could summon up clouds to ride on.

I haven't seen anything quite like your bottle but it's a fun bottle. I would think the head of the tortoise would just be glued to the cork but the size and weight of the head may be a problem.

Regards, Adrian.
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SBNut
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« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2018, 01:38:19 pm »

Hi Adrian,

Thank you, I'm on the mend for now. I definitely now believe that this bottle is based on the Journey to the West, I found this painting of the characters (photo below) and they actually match exactly to the four characters on the bottle (crown and all). The current "cork" (which is that band-aid material wound around the spoon) and spoon were just glued onto the head as you stated but I have a feeling this is a replacement. I don't know how old this bottle is but the quality is superb and the carving of the glass is deep and very well executed and polished so I find it hard to see a cheap spoon on something of quality. Do you have any idea or estimate as to age? I know its hard to date based on its unique design. I have seen a few other detailed carved yellow bottles before but nothing like this. Thank you for your input!

All the best,
~Daniel


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Joey
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« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2018, 04:46:13 pm »

Dear Daniel,

     A full and speedy recovery!
The bottle is totally modern. I'm sorry, but I don't see the 'fun' in it.
Rather, I see a waste of whatever sum it cost.
Somewhere on the Forum, I shared a list of basics for judging good snuff bottles.
Weird carvings that would have been hard to carry, hard to remove from a pouch,
and were not functional as vessels for carrying, using and sharing snuff, were not
on the list.
As well, if you've never seen anything like it, as a serious rule, is the kiss of death.
The Chinese did 'variations on a theme'.
Better luck next time,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

SBNut
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« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2018, 02:46:46 pm »

Dear Joey,

Thank you!

Ahh well you win some you lose some. I'd rather spend $20 (which is all it cost me) and learn from my mistake then spend $2000 and be ignorant. As for its functionality you are correct, because of the detail on the top it would be awkward to carry on ones person and pouch it but I have to say, I viewed it more of a scholars desk item than a portable bottle due to its size and weight. Although it is very comfortable in the hand and actually is very easy to hold and roll around the hand as hard as it is to picture. Also laid on the flat base on a desk very easy to lets say pull out the spoon and dump a scoop of snuff on a plate and pass around (the plate) without having to remove it from the table to do so as the weight of the piece would keep it nice and firmly in place. I'm not making an argument to its age only its functionality.

Also being somewhat less experienced in this field, not having seen anything similar isn't a good judge for my situation as I can open a Christie's catalogue and find many unique one of a kind bottles I have never seen prior which very rarely come out for auction to find a comparable so I cannot use that as a firm judgement in my case. Thank you for your input, its always appreciated!

~Daniel
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Joey
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« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2018, 05:39:10 pm »

Dear Daniel,

     First of all, me bad! I did not look at the measurements, just at the lump of yellow glass. Yes, it could be a scholar's desk object, at that weight and size.
How much snuff can it hold?
At US$20, it is worth it as a table scroll weight [to hold down one end of a hand-scroll on a table, or even to hold down part of a hanging scroll being examined on a table.
I will look again at it.
Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

SBNut
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« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2018, 01:16:47 pm »

Dear Joey,

It can hold approx 7g of snuff from my calculation (I tried empty weight then full weight then the snuff by itself). It doesn't seem like a lot but it came out to about 3-4 teaspoons, almost used up my whole tin. It definitely serves well as a scroll weight!

~Daniel
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Joey
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2018, 03:15:16 pm »

Dear Daniel,

      That's a lot of snuff - snuff is light!
I will have to reconsider my dating.
Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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