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Laque Burgauté Snuff Bottles

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Author Topic: Laque Burgauté Snuff Bottles  (Read 5642 times)
rpfstoneman
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« on: June 30, 2012, 01:44:54 am »

Laque Burgauté, also spelled Lac Burgauté, is a East Asian decorative arts technique of decorating lacquer ware with inlaid designs employing shaped pieces of the iridescent blue-green shell of the sea-ear (Haliotis). This shell inlay, is sometimes engraved, and is often combined with gold and silver inlays. Workmanship is exquisitely small, therefore, laque burgauté is principally used to decorate such small-scale objects as tiny boxes, miniature table screens, vases, plates and small trays, and especially little silver-lined wine cups, usually made in sets of five.

Laque burgauté seems to have originated in China, with examples occurring as early as the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), and was especially popular in the Ch’ing dynasty (1644–1911/12), when it was also used to cover unglazed porcelain. It was widely used by Japan craftsmen in the Tokugawa (Edo) period (1603–1867). In China this technique is referred to as lo tien, and in Japan it is called aogai. Like many of the artistic techniques and objects imported into 17th- and 18th-century Europe from eastern Asia, the Western name is derived from the French word—sea-ear (burgau) lacquer (laque, or lac).

Japanese Laque Burgaute Snuff Bottle-
A fine and rare laque burgaute’ snuff bottle, circa 1820-1880, a black lacquer ground inlaid with silver, gold, and copper, each side with interlocking circles medallions of  various design with stylized butterflies and flowers.  The neck has a matching elaborate geometric design collar. Black lacquer and inlays appear to be applied over a light weight wooden base.  Orange stone stopper as finial. 2 1/4" inches in height.




Another Japanese Lacquer Snuff Bottle-
Of compressed flask form, with gilt pine trees and a lotus pond containing ducks, with jadeite stopper. Height 2 1/8 inches.  Property of the Estate of Dr. Joseph and Donna Lee Boggs, Chicago, Illinois.



« Last Edit: November 21, 2017, 09:57:16 pm by rpfstoneman » Report Spam   Logged

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

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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2012, 05:01:42 am »

Nice examples Charll! Yours ?  hm....
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 05:06:35 am by Pat » Report Spam   Logged

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George
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2012, 09:09:30 am »

When ever I see one of these up for auction I think about yours Charll...

I know these are a favorite of yours...

Sometimes one of these will sell for hardly anything, and sometimes for a whole lot..

I think it must come down to the detail and quality of the inlay work..  Almost like determining the quality of cliosonne..

Also did not know this originated in China... Was always under the impression it was Japan..

Thanks for a wonderful post Charll  Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2012, 12:37:02 pm »


Pat,

The top bottle is mine and the bottom is not.  As George pointed out this is one of my favorite materials. I have 13 laque burgaute bottles, which I hope to eventually catalog and post the more interesting ones.  Most are contemporary, post 1950’s and likely Chinese.   The Japanese bottles posted above seem to be a bit more unique and uncommon, even among the Japanese style bottles.  I have the one, the other bottle pictured above was sold at auction a year or two ago, and a third was in a sales exhibition by J.W.A. International, Inc. (i.e., Chris and Louise Randall), “An Exhibition of Important Chinese Snuff Bottles, October 1990, Lot 58”.

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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2012, 01:26:58 pm »

Like most bottles where condition is so everything..

Would you even consider a bottle in this condition Charll..

I have my eye on this one. Even though it is in really poor condition, wonder if that might not speak to some possible age..



I have not seen the bottom of one of these enlayed before..



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« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2012, 02:12:28 pm »

George,

This bottle has minute pieces almost to a point of distraction, and was likely a nice bottle in its day.  With organics, in my opinion, condition is everything.  Other than wood, many organic materials cannot be repaired or at least repaired easily.  I saw this bottle myself, and quickly passed it over once I noticed the numerous missing pieces, the gashes, and overall poor condition.  The condition of this bottle is like owning a Ming polychrome porcelain vase that had been broken into many small pieces, and when it was glued back together some of the pieces were never recovered, thus worthless to most collectors.

Charll

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« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2012, 02:45:40 pm »


 The condition of this bottle is like owning a Ming polychrome porcelain vase that had been broken into many small pieces, and when it was glued back together some of the pieces were never recovered, thus worthless to most collectors.

Charll



Thanks Charll   !   Cheesy
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« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2012, 05:27:53 pm »

I have no experience on the  Lacquer bottle, but it sure is a beautiful bottle.

Great job! Charll!
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« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2012, 08:41:49 pm »

I have 2-3 of these but none with the elegance and beauty of your bottle Charll.  Mine are all post 1950 I would guess.  Very very nice one you posted here,...Look forward to seeing the rest one fine day.
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« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2012, 09:08:08 pm »

A small collection of laque Burgaute bottles.  All of these are lacquer over wood bases. 



                                                                                            


Enjoy Charll
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« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2012, 10:14:52 pm »

Wow! what a great collection you have there! Charll,

I need to hunt a  lacquer one for myself. Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2012, 08:26:12 am »

Charll,
    In 1999, I spent a few days with John & Penny Ault in Phuket, where they (then, pre- Xmas 2004 Tsunami) had a number of suites in one of the hotels on the artificial Lagoon. Their hotel, named after an exotic flower, and from a small Asian chain (Indian?) shared the lagoon with the Dusit Thani, the Sheraton, and the Oriental (If I remember correctly).
   We then flew to Bangkok, where I stayed in their penthouse near the Marriott on the Chao Phraya River. John showed me his magnificent collection of THAI Lac Burgaute snuff bottles, close to 50, all in superb condition. They'd come from the Royal family primarily, when Penny's family, closely related to His Excellent Majesty King Bhumipol Adulyadej, Rama IX, found out he was interested in these knicknacks (as they see them).
   It seems that the bottles with blue/green shell are Chinese/Japanese. The ones with rosy hued shell tend to be Thai. The one George posted is definitely Thai Royal, and comparable to a number in John's collection, though not in the same condition. The one with the jadeite stopper seems to have little if any shell; it seems to have mainly metal foil as the decorative material, but that may just be the photo not showing the reflectiveness of the shell.
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« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2012, 11:28:33 am »

All,

Another note about the bottles posted here is that the three bottles (the middle bottles when upper pictures are view together, for it was taken as left and right photo of the same group) with no shell decorations are claimed to be Japanese.  Instead of gold and silver wire (which is more like a metal tape instead of wire) and shell work, these three are wire and foil designs.  The foil material appears similar if not the same as that used in Japanese foil cloisonne.  The others with the shell work could be Chinese or Japanese, and the country of origin on these depends upon who your talking too.   I would like to think the whole group is Japanese, but pretty sure more than a few are Chinese.  Still going though old records and catalogs in an effort to confirm the county of origin on each of these bottles.

Charll
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« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2012, 10:21:46 pm »

Charll,
    You have a stunning group of laque burgaute bottles. Usually one sees one or two amongst a collection of other types of bottle, so seeing this many all together really makes an impact. I have always had an eye open for this kind of bottle, but either there was damage, or the price was too high for comfort. Personally, I prefer the less cluttered ones, that have a pictorial design rather than pure geometric patterns. Consequently I like the one you first posted best.

Joey,
    Thanks for your input on Thai royal laque burgaute bottles. I never knew about the rose colour shell pieces being an indicator of Thai origin. In 20 years here I have never seen a laque burgaute bottle. Neither did I know about John Ault's collection. They were NOT part of the collection he sold to Robert Kleiner, neither were they illustrated in his book. 

Tom
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« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2012, 01:24:19 am »

Tom,
    I am repeating what John Ault told me. I know he got all of his Thai examples directly from members of the Thai Royal Family. They are very generous to their friends (when I was taken to meet Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, she gave me a really beautiful little lac Burgaute box, same work as the snuff bottles, apologising that she'd already given all her snuff bottles of the type to John!).
  The amazing thing is, the Thai ones are divided between Thai and Chinese designs. The Thai designs include what look like flames, as one sees wreathing the angel/demon figures.
Joey
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« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2012, 01:25:45 am »

Charll,
  I agree with Tom and the others: your group of Lac Burgaute bottles together make an impressive sight.
Joey
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« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2012, 06:25:47 pm »

Wow !

What an amazing group !
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« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2012, 02:27:04 am »

Dear Charll,
thank you for starting this very instructive thread.
Giovanni
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« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2012, 04:14:56 am »

Charll

I have been busy last few days and a bit inactive here but this group of bottles certainly woke me up.  Impressive!  I am green with envy!
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« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2015, 04:01:51 pm »

 
All,

As mentioned I've managed to pick up 4 bottles within the last two weeks after going through a long dry spell of no purchasing.  I guess its better they come in bunches, then not at all!  As am cataloging them I thought you might enjoy what I feel is a magnificent laque burguate bottle.

      
The bottle's black backgound panels are just 35mm tall by 25mm wide


Background Information: Laque Burgauté, also spelled lac burgauté, in the decorative arts is an East Asian  technique of decorating lacquer ware with inlaid designs employing shaped pieces of the iridescent blue-green shell of the sea-ear (Haliotis). This shell inlay is sometimes engraved or etched to enhance the design.  In snuff bottles the sea-ear is frequently combined with gold and silver wire or ribbon, and also metal foils which tend to be Japanese in origin. These inlay pieces of shell, metal, and foil are often only 1 to 2 millimeters in size.  This minute workmanship is exquisite and time consuming; therefore, laque burgauté is principally used to decorate such small-scale objects as tiny boxes, miniature table screens, vases, and especially little silver-lined wine cups, usually made in sets of five.

Laque burgauté seems to have originated in China, with examples occurring as early as the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), and was especially popular in the Ch’ing dynasty (1644–1911), when it was also used to cover unglazed porcelain. It was widely used by Japan craftsmen in the Tokugawa (Edo) period (1603–1867).  In China this technique is referred to as lo tien, and in Japan it is called aogai.  Like many of the artistic techniques and objects imported into 17th- and 18th-century Europe from eastern Asia, the Western name is derived from the French words for lacquer (laque, or lac) and sea-ear (burgau).

Small Laque Burgauté Snuff Bottle:
A wooden bodied snuff bottle covered in black lacquer with minute inlays of sea-ear and gold and silver wire, forming a leafy tree branch within a black panel on one side and a floral design in a long handled wicker type basket with two butterflies hovering above on the other side.  The bottle has an elegant rounded rectangular vase shaped body with the neck, base and narrowed sides covered in a tight geometric pattern of sea-ear and gold.  Bottle interior appears to be lacquer coated as well.   Raise incised foot rim with no mark.  Stopper is an old antique brass button with a turquoise inset cabochon and it has a small horn spoon.  Without the stopper the bottle is 2.2 inches high by 1.35 inches wide its breast, or 55 mm tall by 35 mm wide. 

Period: Late 1880’s (?) to post 1900.  Suspect it is Chinese rather than Japanese. 

Condition: Pristine.

Provenance:  Skinner Auctions, Asian Works of Art, Sale No. 2843B, 09/19/2015, Lot No. 329

Hope you enjoy the images as much as I do the bottle, and all further comments, corrections, or background information is welcomed and appreciated.

Charll



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« Last Edit: October 10, 2015, 06:48:56 pm by rpfstoneman » Report Spam   Logged

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

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