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‘Old Moon Pavilion’ Marked Stoneware & Molded Porcelain Snuff Bottle

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Author Topic: ‘Old Moon Pavilion’ Marked Stoneware & Molded Porcelain Snuff Bottle  (Read 12243 times)
rpfstoneman
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« on: March 24, 2012, 08:14:06 pm »

‘Old Moon Pavilion’ Molded Porcelain Snuff Bottles

  (Guyue Xuan-Molded Porcelain Snuff Bottle, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, bequest of Edmund C. Converse, 1921)


The 3-character mark Guyue Xuan 軒月古 (Old Moon Pavilion) on snuff bottles is considered to be of a provincial group made during the 19th century, and is one of the more puzzling monikers on snuff bottles.  Use of this moniker is a tribute to Guyue Xuan (Ku-Yuen-Hsuan) wares that were produced in China during the 18th century in both soft lustrous glass and porcelain of superlative quality. True Guyue Xuan wares (which by-the-way often do not bear this Guyue Xuan [軒月古] mark; i.e., the base either has no mark, an etched reign mark and/or raised enamel reign mark) where appraised by the Chinese as being more precious than jade, and were miniature masterpiece paintings which capture the very hue and accent of pastoral beauty.

When developed in glass, Guyue Xuan ware was occasionally ornamented with etched designs, but more generally very fine brushwork enameling was employed, and this decorative treatment was similarly put to use on porcelains in an effort to emulate the glass specimens.  The designs draw on a direct simplicity well suited to motifs taken from nature, and are defined in terms of birds, flowers, a tree in blossom, a pair of grazing animals, and very rare motifs of human figures. The finest Guyue Xuan specimens have decorative design of full definition, but are never over-elaborated merely to fill space.

This particular group of snuff bottles with the 軒月古mark is an opaque molded porcellaneous stoneware, not expressing any of the attributes of fine Guyue Xuan ware!  Though figural bottles in this stoneware group are rare, this group of snuff bottles can found in a variety of colors. Body colors can be blue, golden yellow, aubergine purple, green, or multicolored.  They come in molded designs with lion head rings on the sides, with painted designs, haphazard splashes of various bright colors, or molded underglazed reliefs with a finely crackled overglaze. The foot is always glazed over completely.

Several of these bottles have an underglazed brown 軒月古mark (Moss, Chinese Snuff Bottles: 5, May 1969, pages 65-66).  These bottles are considered somewhat prolific in that many early snuff bottle collections had one. 
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 01:39:25 pm by rpfstoneman » Report Spam   Logged

Charll K Stoneman, Eureka, California USA, Collector Since 1979.

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Joey
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« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2012, 02:46:54 am »

No offence, Charll, but this is what I expect of modern porcelain snuff bottles. It amazes me that you'd want to keep these when you have that superb,  contemporary blue and white porcelain. That should be the benchmark, IMHO ;-)
Joey
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2013, 02:57:38 pm »

Dear Charll,
I have found this thread searching for "Old moon pavilion". I had a very similar bottle in the former group of bottles that I bought from a collector. Here are the pictures. Sorry I do not remember if it had the mark on the base too.
Giovanni


* DSCN9406.JPG (104.66 KB, 559x645 - viewed 10 times.)

* DSCN9409.JPG (105.39 KB, 588x650 - viewed 8 times.)
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rpfstoneman
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2013, 09:53:40 pm »

Giovanni,

I suspect the bottle you had likely has the same mark as the bottle above.  Any of this type of quality tend to have the "old moon"/"ancient moon" pavilion mark.

Charll 
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2013, 12:38:11 am »

Dear Charll,
here is the reason why I happened on this thread:
http://snuffbottle.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,1650.0.html
Giovanni
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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2013, 01:54:35 am »

Charll, and Giovanni..

Do your bottles show this same sunk in throat ?

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« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2013, 06:59:32 am »

Dear George,
I do not remember exactly, but probably not.
Giovanni
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rpfstoneman
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« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2013, 07:09:55 pm »

George,

My bottle has a similar depression around lip to the mouth, but not to the degree of the bottle you have illustrated.

Charll
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« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2013, 08:37:44 pm »

Thanks guys  Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2014, 12:31:19 am »

Just wanted to add another example with unique multicolored enamels..

Also, just for the record, adding a link to another Old Moon Pavilion' Gu yue xuan topic

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« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2017, 04:40:44 am »

Charll, Giovanni and George,

I think I have one of these bottles as well!
It was attached to a pedestal with sticky dough and I just cleaned off the base and found it had a similar mark, which led me to this thread.

Cheers,

Rheuben.


* old moon pavillion 1.jpg (99.08 KB, 480x640 - viewed 15 times.)

* old moon pavillion 3.jpg (138.1 KB, 480x640 - viewed 8 times.)

* old moon pavillion 2.jpg (111.98 KB, 480x640 - viewed 6 times.)

* old moon pavillion 5.jpg (102.67 KB, 480x640 - viewed 8 times.)

* old moon pavillion 4.jpg (121.31 KB, 480x640 - viewed 11 times.)
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Rube, 4th Generation Collector

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« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2017, 05:34:53 am »

I like it Ruben and congrats !
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« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2017, 05:24:53 am »

Interesting write up from Hugh Moss regarding this style of bottle.  But I am still puzzled as to the date.
Instead of being an 18th century bottle, it's really more like 19th?  This example was supposedly one of
the older bottles in my great grandmother's collection.  Some of the bottles in her collection came via her sister, who had a dear friend that was one of the chief importers for Gumps. At the time, he indicated that this rare bottle was over 200 years old. The fact that Moss says many of the early collections had them is interesting to note, because it probably means that these collectors thought their bottles were much older than they actually were. 

Cheers,

Rheuben. 
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« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2017, 06:18:37 am »

Hi Reuben,

Do you mean bottles with the Old Moon Pavilion mark? As I understand it this mark was originally used on imperial enamel on glass bottles that were originally made in the 18th century. The mark actually refers to a building for emperor that was intended for his retirement. Anyway, then the mark was used on various bottles sporadically moving forward and obviously were not the original "Old Moon Pavilion" bottles. As is the case here? Does Hugh Moss specifically mention one of these ceramic bottles as being 18th C? Anyway, perhaps others with more thorough knowledge can give you better info... Also, if you go to the Hugh Moss site, if I remember correctly - he has written an article/journal for the ICSBS all about this subject...

Luke
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« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2017, 08:39:10 am »

 Huh I admit to being very confused by what people have written here. Are people generally saying these types of bottles are or are not worth collecting? Do bottles that look like this date to the 18th century, 19th century, or are they being copied now?

I recently saw one that looked very much like these for $35. BTW- that is close to the price I see for many of the very modern agate and jasper bottles I like. I know those jasper bottles have no intrinsic value, but occassionally buy them anyway when they are made of a new or unusual stone because what personally attracts me is the unusual pattern or appearance of the stone itself. Are people buying these Old Moon Pavillon types despite the fact that they have no real intrinsic value (beyond $50 or so) because they are just attracted to their appearance in some way (or should I run and see if they still have that snuff for $35 and if it has this mark because it could be a bargain?)

Please forgive my ignorance and thank you for any information you can supply.
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« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2017, 08:52:35 am »

Ilene, as far as I know these ceramic bottles in this thread of this style are late 19th century. The mark that is on the bottom was first used on a series of glass enamelled bottles in the 18th C and refers to the Old Moon Pavilion which was to be a retirement building for the Qianlong emperor... (disclaimer: this is just my understanding from reading/research)

there is currently one of these ceramic bottles on eBay with the same mark for about $150...
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Luke
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« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2017, 11:25:35 am »

All,

Since I started this thread, let’s see if I can add some additional clarity.  Though Luke has just said much of what I was going to say, and he is correct.  These are “stoneware” bottles not to be confused with porcelain ware, nor the elegant 18th century enamel glassware that is represented as ‘Gu Yue Xuan’ or Ancient Moon Pavilion wares.  Note that I say wares, and I’m not referring to the Gu Yue Xuan mark.   These stoneware bottles were acquire by many collectors in the late 19th century and into the 20th century.  Anecdotally a number of these bottles seem to have appeared and were picked up by collectors in the first half to the 20th century.   As such, a number of these stoneware bottles can be found in museum collections via subsequent donation by these early snuff bottle collectors.  Thus, the background for my statement below.

Quote
These bottles are considered somewhat prolific in that many early snuff bottle collections had one.

It is my observation that these stoneware bottles are 19th century and likely saw manufacture into the Republican Period of the early 20th century.

Quote
Instead of being an 18th century bottle, it's really more like 19th?  This example was supposedly one of the older bottles in my great grandmother's collection.  Some of the bottles in her collection came via her sister, who had a dear friend that was one of the chief importers for Gumps. At the time, he indicated that this rare bottle was over 200 years old. The fact that Moss says many of the early collections had them is interesting to note, because it probably means that these collectors thought their bottles were much older than they actually were.

It was Gumps!!!!!  They had more than just the 'one' rare bottle.  Yes, these bottles were over represented at the time, both in origin and age. 

These bottles have nothing to do with the location of the Ancient Moon Pavilion or the highly treasured 18th century Gu Yue Xuan enameled glass wares presumably form that location.  These stoneware bottles (as well as some beautifully made and highly valued enamels on glass snuff bottles made by artists in the 20th century) and many cheap bottles presently found on Ebay have just borrowed the mark or moniker.     

I use to collect teddy bears and still have an extensive collection.  The use of the 'Ancient Moon Pavilion' mark on these stoneware bottles is analogous to placing the an original (old) Steiff Bear ear button on a Beanie-Baby.  The Beanie-Babies came much later.   These stoneware bottles I would liken to be the Beanie-Babies in the snuff bottle world.  There are folk art, and as such are highly collectible to some people.  I have one in my collection and will likely keep it, and just maybe I'll eventually add other bottle or too to make a study group in the collection.

Charll     
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« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2017, 12:56:24 pm »

Luke,

i Appreciate your clarification as well as the Moss reference, I'll be sure to seek it out! 

Ilene, I'm sorry for the confusion about resurrecting this thread.  I'm in the process of moving, and packing up the few bottles I own. When I was wrapping this bottle, it was stuck with putty to a base, and curiously, I scraped it off, finding the mark on the base.  I cross referenced that with the two books I own, Lilla Perry's and Stevens' on snuff bottles.
Sure enough, she showed that Ku Hueh Hsuan mark and indicated a bit of caution... which got me curious.  I found Charll's thread, and have learned much, per usual!  As I've indicated in a few posts, I have a few bottles that at one time belonged to either my great grandmother, grandparents, and or my mother.  They all came from different places, and my grandmother made a succinct list of her bottles,where they came from, and sometimes how much they cost at the time of purchase.  Sometimes, the list was simply a number and material, sometimes she mentioned where they came from, or from whom....

Charll, this is where Gumps comes in:  My favorite entries on the list are those bottles which came from a man named Mr. Quon.  According to her list, he was a dear friend of her aunt, and happened to be one of the chief importers for Gumps.  Sometimes, this aunt bought bottles from him, and in return gave them to her sister (my great grandmother).
This particular bottle that I posted, was one of those, and on this list, my grandmother writes that it was from Mr. Quon and rare, and he said over 200 years old. (I'm not sure of the date of purchase, but she started collecting in 1909, I think.)  The funny thing about these entries is, it's usually only Mr. Quon's bottles, that she ever mentions as being "very fine, or rare". So, it almost gives this character some sense of mystical quality about him! 

When I read the beginning excerpt of this thread, it got me more curious about this bottle type.  And I think it confirmed some suspicions too, that this bottle wasn't as old as Mr. Quon purported.  Part of the reason is Gumps.  Charll, tell me more about Gumps!  Am I right in thinking that they were peddling items to be older than they were, simply to cater to the demands of the day? 

Cheers,

Rheuben.
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« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2017, 01:29:23 pm »

Many thanks to everyone for providing such extensive information. Rheuben, please don't apologize for posting an interesting bottle. I love to read about the bottles and who made them. I find it fascinating to think about the history behind them.
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« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2017, 05:51:17 pm »

Dear Rheuben,

      Gumps seems to have always tried to represent their wares honestly, but they were not experts in Asian Arts, or other exotic items, even though their 'consultants' claimed such expertise.

      This Mr. Quon sounds like a real 'expert' (not). Either he did not know that the bottles like this one were made up to 30 years earlier; or he did not care.

      Gumps still exists today in SFO. And they still buy from or via experts; but the world is more sophisticated today, and, thanks to the Internet (which also allows me in Jerusalem, Israel, to communicate over The Forum with all of you out there!), there is more info, so people CAN become more informed, if they so desire.

      Don't unfairly denigrate Gumps; and don't glorify Mr. Quon. If he sold it to your relative as over 200 years old (unless he sold it to her in 2109 or thereabouts) and 'rare', the BEST one can say is that he was not an expert. I'd say he was a liar, myself, and probably good at charming (fleecing?) nice old ladies out of their money.

Best,
Shabbat Shalom,
Joey
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