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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
October 16, 2018, 03:10:39 am
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A wood bottle

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Author Topic: A wood bottle  (Read 1090 times)
Wattana
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« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2012, 10:26:54 pm »

Hi Steven,

Thank you for explaining the symbolism behind the scene of 4 ladies and 16 children. I will (at last!) be able to amend & expand my notes in connection with this bottle.

If this bottle is modern, as I suspect (I bought it in Hong Kong in 1997), I am surprised that I have not seen more examples on the market from this craftsman or workshop. Has anyone come across anything similar in wood? The exact same design  is on a porcelain bottle from the Harry Ross Collection illustrated in Hugh Moss's Chinese Snuff Bottles No.5, page 50:

Apologies for the poor quality in the scan.

Tom


* 01 H.Ross coll-lo.jpg (347.45 KB, 715x1287 - viewed 32 times.)
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« Reply #21 on: July 16, 2012, 11:04:42 pm »

Hi Tom,

Your bottle is the only wood carved bottle with this subject I have ever seen, unlike porcelain one which is fairly easy to be reproduced once mould was made. wood carved bottle specially with this kind of detail and quality  will have to be done by very experienced craftman, and it take very long to make one.

Steven

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« Reply #22 on: July 16, 2012, 11:28:16 pm »

Hi Steven,

That was exactly my opinion, too. Surely a craftsman with this level of skill would have made others, in wood or even ivory. I have seen neither in the 15 years since I bought this bottle.

A mystery...

Tom
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« Reply #23 on: July 17, 2012, 05:39:21 am »

That is strange. It certainly is very good quality...
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #24 on: July 17, 2012, 10:59:07 am »

The material appears to be boxwood. It is a dense, close-grained wood, and I imagine much trickier to carve than ivory. My hunch (and it is only a hunch) is that it was done by an ivory carver, possibly as a 'master' or 'trial run' for an ivory bottle that was never executed. Or maybe one or two ivory ones were produced 'to order', and now sit in someone's collection. That would explain why they haven't surfaced on the open market.

I have to add something about the circumstances under which I purchased this bottle. It came from a Hong Kong shop that I had previously bought bottles from several times (one that John Ault also used). On this occasion I had picked a couple of jade bottles when I spotted it sitting on one of his back shelves, behind some glass bottles. It may have been my imagination, but he appeared a bit reluctant to show it to me. With a little persistence on my part he brought it to the counter. When I asked the price, he at first demurred, but eventually named a price. It was high, and I understood that he understood I would think it high, and so pass it by. But I just loved the workmanship - I had never seen anything like it - so accepted his price immediately, without any bargaining. After that he couldn't refuse it to me.

I have never for one moment regretted the cost. It is quite unique. When I showed it to Hugh Moss, even he showed vague signs of excitement.

Tom  
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« Reply #25 on: August 03, 2012, 05:17:35 pm »

Tom.. Do you happen to know what kind of wood your 4 ladies and 16 children on a garden terrace bottle is carved from ?
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« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2012, 08:57:30 am »

George,

As mentioned in the above post, it is a dense and close-grained wood of light color, which I believe it to be boxwood. I have seen other Chinese carvings of similar looking wood which were described as boxwood. But I have not asked a wood expert to try and identify it.

Tom
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Tom B.
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« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2016, 10:17:40 am »

Dear all,

Sorry I missed this discussion at the time.  Yes Steven I think you should have bid a bit more for that rare wooden snuff bottle.  I was sick when it sold so low, but I thought that the eBay buyers would recognize its importance.  The condition wasn't the greatest but I still believe that it was most likely made in the Imperial workshop as a model to be sent to the Suzhou Official workshop as a model approved by the Emperor.  I am posting additional images that should demonstrate why I feel that way.  I think that it was originally not hollowed or at least not well hollowed for use.  The plug in the base is just not up to the quality of the rest of the bottle.  I think that someone wanted to hollow it for use and then put a too big wooden plug that caused the bottle to split. 


* Wood Kui Dragon 1.jpg (62.39 KB, 574x677 - viewed 11 times.)

* Wood Kui Dragon 2.jpg (124.59 KB, 634x976 - viewed 10 times.)

* Wood Kui Dragon 3.jpg (77.3 KB, 458x798 - viewed 8 times.)

* Wood Kui Dragon 4.jpg (67.04 KB, 505x732 - viewed 10 times.)
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Tom B.

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« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2016, 10:53:24 am »

Dear Tom,

Congratulations on a rare and beautiful wooden snuff bottle.  As you stated there are many porcelain SB's with this subject matter;  I have seen over a dozen different versions in as many different levels of quality.  Your wooden version is as good as the very best quality porcelain ones. Coincidentally I have a best quality porcelain example for sale on eBay at the moment:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Rare-Chinese-Famille-Rose-Carved-Reticulated-Porcelain-Snuff-Bottle-Qianlong-Mk-/291726969327?ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT



* Porcelain Snuff 07.0cmH Qianlong Boyle01.JPG (91.83 KB, 441x724 - viewed 8 times.)

* Porcelain Snuff 07.0cmH Qianlong Boyle02.jpg (79.78 KB, 441x732 - viewed 6 times.)

* Porcelain Snuff 07.0cmH Qianlong Boyle03.jpg (90.34 KB, 441x732 - viewed 6 times.)

* Porcelain Snuff 07.0cmH Qianlong Boyle04.jpg (76.89 KB, 441x726 - viewed 5 times.)
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Tom B.

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« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2016, 11:00:54 am »

Of the various porcelain snuff bottles of this subject almost all were molded and then glazed with only a minimal of hand finishing like removing the mold lines.  This SB is a double-walled example that was then hand carved to make it fully reticulated with additional undercutting of the figures to make them more realistic.  I have found only one other example of this quality and it was described by Hugh Moss as being Qianlong Mark & Period.


* Porcelain Snuff 07.0cmH Qianlong Boyle10.jpg (141.98 KB, 755x693 - viewed 13 times.)

* Porcelain Snuff 07.0cmH Qianlong Boyle14x.jpg (171.17 KB, 757x867 - viewed 5 times.)

* Porcelain Snuff 07.0cmH Qianlong Boyle38.jpg (159.98 KB, 694x1078 - viewed 5 times.)

* Porcelain Snuff 07.0cmH Qianlong Boyle40g.jpg (84.45 KB, 700x578 - viewed 4 times.)
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Tom B.

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« Reply #30 on: April 10, 2016, 03:41:05 am »

Dear Tom,

Thanks for your comment on my wood bottle. Your polychrome porcelain version is one of the best of its kind I have seen. The reticulated work is an unusual feature, I believe. I wish you luck with its sale. I have been keeping a lookout for a good monochrome (glazed or biscuit finish) match to my wood bottle. A biscuit  version was sold by Bonhams at Billingshurst in 1989, but that was before I got the wood one. The latest Sotheby's Barron sale in NY had a good one, on which I had placed an absentee bid., but reluctantly withdrew it after reaching my "spent limit" at the Bonhams auction two days earlier! It only fetched $1,700, so wish I had not pulled out. C'est la vie.

Tom L
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« Reply #31 on: April 10, 2016, 04:09:32 am »

A biscuit  version was sold by Bonhams at Billingshurst in 1989, but that was before I got the wood one. The latest Sotheby's Barron sale in NY had a good one, on which I had placed an absentee bid., but reluctantly withdrew it after reaching my "spent limit" at the Bonhams auction two days earlier! It only fetched $1,700, so wish I had not pulled out. C'est la vie.

Dear Tom,

That 'biscuit' is with me Grin
Lucky you pulled out.

Cheers,
YT
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« Reply #32 on: April 10, 2016, 04:31:13 am »


That 'biscuit' is with me Grin
Lucky you pulled out.


Dear YT,

What a small world we collectors live in!

When you get a chance I would love to see some photos of all 4 elevation views. I am curious to see how close a match to my wood bottle it really is.

Best,
Tom

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« Reply #33 on: April 10, 2016, 06:53:29 am »

Dear Tom,

Yes, we do love good bottles.

It will be a while before I physically get the bottles as they are with a friend now.
I will post when I get them.

Cheers,
YT
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« Reply #34 on: April 10, 2016, 11:04:25 am »

Dear YT,

No hurry.   Wink

Tom
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« Reply #35 on: April 11, 2016, 04:23:10 am »

Dear Tom,

Congratulations on a rare and beautiful wooden snuff bottle.  As you stated there are many porcelain SB's with this subject matter;  I have seen over a dozen different versions in as many different levels of quality.  Your wooden version is as good as the very best quality porcelain ones. Coincidentally I have a best quality porcelain example for sale on eBay at the moment:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Rare-Chinese-Famille-Rose-Carved-Reticulated-Porcelain-Snuff-Bottle-Qianlong-Mk-/291726969327?ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT


Dear Tom B.,

http://www.ebay.com/itm/291729564499
Just saw this Yangzhou that you are selling and the comparison.
The actual bottle is less pale.  Wink

Good luck too!

Cheers,
YT


* YZ lionsG.jpg (82.48 KB, 531x800 - viewed 17 times.)
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« Reply #36 on: April 11, 2016, 11:55:52 pm »

Dear Tom and YT,

I am finding it hard to comprehend the apparent difference in interest (i.e. price) between the two bottles mentioned above. Is there really that much more demand for YZ glass over Qianlong moulded porcelain?

Tom L.
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« Reply #37 on: April 12, 2016, 06:34:34 pm »

Dear Tom and YT,

I am finding it hard to comprehend the apparent difference in interest (i.e. price) between the two bottles mentioned above. Is there really that much more demand for YZ glass over Qianlong moulded porcelain?

Tom L.
Dear Tom,

My two cents worth of comparison.
1. Moulded porcelain-Simply too many in the market. From the good ones to the really out-of-shaped all claiming to be QianLong or JiaQing. During these two emperors' period, there are simply too many really nice snuff bottles like the enamel or the Jade ones.

2. YangZhou glass- quantity much lesser with almost minimum repeats. Right from Imperial 18th white on pink Silkworm bottles to late 19th very exquisite and delicate bottles. Amazing workmanship and motifs.

Cheers,
YT
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« Reply #38 on: April 12, 2016, 09:26:36 pm »

Dear Tom,

I agree with YT, it seems to be a matter of supply and demand.  Early collectors completely ignored molded porcelain SB's since they were considered to be "mass produced" product.  It is true that many of the molds were used over a long period of time, copied again and again, and even faked in modern times, so that even the originals of the most prolific molds are a hard sell.  The rare molds where only a handful are known command higher prices, but still lag behind similar rarities in other materials or even plain porcelain bottles with Famille Rose decoration.  The following is one that I owned that remains a rare mold; I have found only a total of 5 examples including an almost identical one from the Bloch collection and a damaged monochrome red in the Liverpool museum.

A molded Porcelain Snuff Bottle 06.6 cm High Jiaqing period was sold for $11,875.00 in March 2012 by Christie's New York:

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Best regards,

Tom B.

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« Reply #39 on: April 12, 2016, 09:53:52 pm »

Thanks YT and Tom for sharing!!!

Both are super rare and wonderful examples.Smiley

Congratulation!!

-YT, is that bottle from Sothebys Hongkong last year? That is one of a kind bottle, ofcoz, very costly too.Smiley

Steven
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