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Charll shared this beautiful Xianfeng (1851-1861) dated bottle depicting NeZha combating the Dragon King amongst a rolling sea of blue and eight mythical sea creatures.


Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
January 30, 2023, 12:45:01 pm
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Underglazed Blue and Copper Red Designs

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Author Topic: Underglazed Blue and Copper Red Designs  (Read 7077 times)
Joey
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« Reply #200 on: December 23, 2022, 08:31:41 am »

An interesting subject, John.
And very well fired.
Congratulations.
Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #201 on: December 24, 2022, 12:15:49 am »

Hi John & all

I refer to John's bottle in thread #195.

Thanks for providing the reference article in the ICSBS Journal, Winter 1998 issue.

I have read the article and found that the motif on John's bottle looks like the one in the article. However, there is a big difference.

The example in the article is Zhao Gongming, a general in the classical novel, The List of Gods (Feng Shen Bang). It records the war between the last Shang dynasty and the upcoming Zhou dynasty. The story involves many deities as well as humans and Zhao is one of them who supports the Shang dynasty. In the story, he was a middle-aged warrior riding a black tiger. He was later considered the military god of wealth. (The other civil god of wealth was Lu, one of the three gods normally featured together as Fu Lu Shou).

However, in John's example, the man featured was a young man who did not dress like a warrior. There are two possibilities: one, it was a poor copy of Zhao's subject. Two, it could be another character who I am not able to identify now.

I attached the images here for your reference.

The first was the one featured in the journal, Zhao Gongming. The second is a print of Zhao Gongming. The third is the character on John's bottle and the last is from another illustration from a different story whose identity is currently unknown.

Regards.


Richard


* Zhao Gongming1.jpg (85.75 KB, 464x832 - viewed 8 times.)

* Zhao Gongming.jpg (101.11 KB, 595x803 - viewed 6 times.)

* Porcelain147.jpeg (83.23 KB, 258x600 - viewed 8 times.)

* Tigers.jpg (60.45 KB, 375x543 - viewed 7 times.)
« Last Edit: December 24, 2022, 12:20:29 am by richy88 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #202 on: December 24, 2022, 02:25:12 am »

Dear Richard,

  Another very detailed but fascinating explanation.
Thank you.
A Joyous Christmas as we near the end of Hanuka.
Shabbat Shalom,
Joey
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« Reply #203 on: December 24, 2022, 11:23:33 am »

Richard, thanks for all your time and effort in researching these motifs. I can see on my bottle now that it does not appear like the figure is holding a sword. This next bottle [80mm] has an unknown motif. The two separate figures, the one with the sword and the other are unusual. Richard, have you seen this before? From a small auction in 2008.


* TE B&W&R FIG1 (2).JPG (94.86 KB, 280x600 - viewed 13 times.)

* TE B&W&R FIG2 (2).JPG (95.98 KB, 283x600 - viewed 11 times.)

* TE B&W&R FIG3 (2).JPG (87.96 KB, 282x600 - viewed 10 times.)

* TE B&W&R FIG4 (2).JPG (85.62 KB, 277x600 - viewed 13 times.)

* TE B&W&R FIG5 (2).JPG (87.37 KB, 460x400 - viewed 6 times.)
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Joey
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« Reply #204 on: December 24, 2022, 04:13:03 pm »

Dear John,

       The man at the desk looks like a judge.
I had an IPSB with that scene by Zhang Baotian,
and Clare said it was a judge.
Best,
Merry Christmas,
Joey
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« Reply #205 on: December 24, 2022, 10:03:05 pm »

Hi John

An interesting bottle.

The subject is a long story and the origin of The Journey to the West, the classical Chinese novel.

It began with the dragon king of the Jing river. His duty was to provide rain to the nearby villages. However, he was hot-tempered and commanded the rainfalls according to his mood. Sometimes he summoned heavy rainfalls, sometimes droughts.

In the story, he created a severe drought for three years.

One day, he turned himself into a young man and visited the village. On his way, he saw an old fortune teller. He decided to ridicule the old man. He asked the old man why he was still telling fortune in such a drought.

To his surprise, the old man could recognize him as the dragon king and told him not to worry as there will be a breeze and drizzle later in the day. The dragon king thought: I am the master of the rain, who are you to predict that? So, he decided to place a bet with the fortune teller. He said that if it rains that day, he will offer his head. If not, the old man must provide offerings to him for three years. Although reluctant, the old man was forced to accept the challenge.

The proud dragon king then returns to his sea palace. Upon his return, his subordinate informed him that the Jade Emperor had issued a decree for him to have a drizzle later in the day. The dragon king was so surprised that the old fortune teller could predict the outcome. He regretted having a bet with the old man. However, he thought, I am the dragon king, I will decide how much rainfall it will be.

So, later that day, instead of a drizzle, he commanded a storm instead.

The next day, he returns to the village to find the fortune teller. Upon seeing the dragon king, the old man advised him to flee for his life. The dragon king thought he was joking and asked why? The old man told him that he had disobeyed the Jade Emperor and will be beheaded as a punishment. Upon hearing this, the dragon king panicked and realised his mistake. He then begged the old man to save him. The fortune teller told him that he is just a mortal and could not do anything to help. However, he can provide some clues for him to seek help. He suggested that the dragon king approach the Tang Emperor at that time, Tang Taizong for help.

The reason was that the emperor had an official, Wei Zheng who was a high-ranking official as well as an executioner in heaven. So, the dragon king decided to approach the Tang Emperor for Wei Zheng to pardon him. He begged the emperor persistently until he agreed. However, as Wei Zheng was a strict official, it will be difficult to persuade him. Therefore, the emperor came up with a plan.

On the day of the execution, the emperor invited Wei Zheng for a game of chess and drinks. However, halfway through the game, Wei Zheng dozes off on the table. In his sleep, he shouted, "kill, kill!". Thinking that his plan had worked, the emperor was proud and happy as once the time was up, the dragon king would be spared.

When Wei Zheng woke up, the emperor asked him how his dream was. Wei told the emperor that he had already executed the dragon king in his dream. To this, the emperor was frightened and worried as he had failed to make his promise.

After the incident, the emperor had many nightmares about the dragon king coming to ask for his life. He was afraid and could not sleep well. As a result, he instructed two of his brave generals to guard the palace gate at night to prevent the dragon king from disturbing him again. It worked, but it was too tiring for the generals to be guarding every day. As a result, the emperor requested that the portraits of the two generals be painted on the two sides of the gate. This is how the tradition of two-door guardian gods is painted on the doors in most Chinese buildings.

However, the Tang emperor was still worried, and he decided to seek the help of Buddhism. He commanded the priest, Tang Sanzang on a pilgrimage to India to seek the holy scripts of Buddha. And hence, this is how the story, "Journey to the West" came about.

On John's bottle, the man in the middle is Emperor Tang Taizong and the official on the right is Wei Zheng. On the table is the chessboard.
In the other scene, it shows Wei Zheng beheading the dragon king.

There is also an inscription with two characters in the third photo, but they are too blurred to make out.

For your information.

Regards.



Richard
« Last Edit: December 25, 2022, 07:56:26 am by richy88 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #206 on: December 25, 2022, 04:00:39 am »

Dear Richard,

  First of all, to you and to all my other Christian friends on the forum,

A JOYOUS CHRISTMAS,
And to all, I WISH YOU A HAPPY HANUKA.

This was a real tour-de-force of an explanation.
Thank you,
Joey
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« Reply #207 on: December 25, 2022, 07:26:52 am »

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanuka. Richard, your knowledge always impresses me. I tried to enlarge and clean up the third photo. The only question I have is: was the Dragon King actually executed?


* TE B&W&R FIG3A (3).JPG (101.16 KB, 446x600 - viewed 13 times.)
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« Reply #208 on: December 25, 2022, 07:48:48 am »

Thank you, Joey & John. And a merry Christmas to you!

John, yes, the dragon king was executed by Wei Zheng in his sleep.

According to the story, when he fell asleep, his other personality (or soul) went to heaven and performed his duty.
 
You can see from the third and fourth photos that there is a white smoke-like shape surrounding the two figures. In traditional Chinese illustrations, this element represents the environment of a dream.

I will inspect the inscription again and keep you informed of any progress.

For your reference.

Regards.


Richard
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« Reply #209 on: December 25, 2022, 07:59:57 am »

Thank you, Richard.
Joey
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« Reply #210 on: December 29, 2022, 12:00:56 pm »

This next example [81mm] I know from Richard is a scene from "Journey to the West". I do not know if Richard can pin down the exact scene. From a 2 part small auction of a snuff bottle collection back in 2006. I bought 31 bottles in the first sale and 27 in the second.


* BR B&W&R HOR1 (2).JPG (84.34 KB, 231x600 - viewed 11 times.)

* BR B&W&R HOR2 (2).JPG (94.59 KB, 242x600 - viewed 10 times.)

* BR B&W&R HOR3 (2).JPG (89.92 KB, 227x600 - viewed 9 times.)

* BR B&W&R HOR4 (2).JPG (82.7 KB, 234x600 - viewed 11 times.)

* BR B&W&R HOR5 (2).JPG (117.97 KB, 565x500 - viewed 5 times.)
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« Reply #211 on: December 29, 2022, 08:47:02 pm »

Hi John

Can I see what is the top section of photos 1 and 3? They will provide more specific clues for the subject.

Thanks.


Richard

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« Reply #212 on: December 30, 2022, 01:08:10 pm »

Richard, on the 1st photo I can see some kind of creature with a fishes tail and spikes on it's back. On the 2nd photo I can see a spider [Spider Witches?]


* BR B&W&R HOR6 (2).JPG (179.13 KB, 447x800 - viewed 10 times.)

* BR B&W&R HOR7 (2).JPG (169.5 KB, 428x800 - viewed 8 times.)
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« Reply #213 on: January 13, 2023, 08:31:32 am »

This next example [79mm] has an unknown motif. Hopefully Richard can figure it out. From my local auction in 2003.


* FR B&W&R10 (2).JPG (107.1 KB, 256x600 - viewed 6 times.)

* FR B&W&R11 (2).JPG (98.76 KB, 250x600 - viewed 4 times.)

* FR B&W&R12 (2).JPG (101.27 KB, 253x600 - viewed 4 times.)

* FR B&W&R13 (2).JPG (100.57 KB, 260x600 - viewed 4 times.)

* FR B&W&R14 (2).JPG (127.24 KB, 602x500 - viewed 4 times.)
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« Reply #214 on: January 14, 2023, 12:42:49 am »

Hi John

A wild guess of the subject is from The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

It is the chapter where Liu Bei went to the Wu state to marry the younger sister of the leader of Wu, Sun Qian.

It was meant to be a plot to keep Liu in custody so that he could not expand his power. But the plan did now work out eventually as it was seen through by Liu's adviser, Zhuge Liang.

For your reference.


Richard
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« Reply #215 on: January 14, 2023, 04:42:22 am »

Richard,

    Your knowledge of classical Chinese literature seems to be
quite encyclopaedic.
I wish I had the bottles from my B&W Human figures chapter here.
I'd ask you to enrich my [and our] knowledge of them.
Best,
Shabbat Shalom,
Joey
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« Reply #216 on: January 14, 2023, 01:27:44 pm »

Richard, again your massive knowledge of Chinese literature impresses me!
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« Reply #217 on: January 18, 2023, 07:42:48 am »

This next bottle [80mm] has an unusual 8 lobed shape. It also has the "Golden Thread" glaze. Richard, is the figure with the long axe Yang Yande? From an internet auction in 2008.


* b&w 8 lob1 (2).JPG (94.84 KB, 260x600 - viewed 5 times.)

* b&w 8 lob2 (2).JPG (95.38 KB, 265x600 - viewed 4 times.)

* b&w 8 lob3 (2).JPG (97.54 KB, 262x600 - viewed 5 times.)

* b&w 8 lob4 (2).JPG (93.47 KB, 265x600 - viewed 6 times.)

* b&w 8 lob5 (2).JPG (132.99 KB, 559x500 - viewed 3 times.)
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« Reply #218 on: January 18, 2023, 10:12:15 am »

Hi John

Interesting subject.

I assume the figure in the third photo is the one holding the 'axe'?

Upon closer examination, you can see that this figure is actually a lady with a basket of flowers in front of her. So, what she is holding is actually a flower shovel.

This should be the story of Lu Dong Bin, the leader of the Eight Immortals versus the fairy White Peony (Bai Mu Dan). I will elaborate on the details tomorrow.

Regards.


Richard

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« Reply #219 on: January 18, 2023, 11:00:22 am »

Richard, I thought the figure looked like a women.
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