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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
January 27, 2023, 10:54:18 am
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Examining A Bottle By Bob Stevens

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Author Topic: Examining A Bottle By Bob Stevens  (Read 595 times)
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« on: January 25, 2011, 06:32:38 pm »

Snuff Bottles can fill many needs far beyond that of their artistic appeal for the active, concerned collector. Consider a snuff bottle. One thinks first of the material from wich it is made. Say one is made of Jade. Does the color please your eye ? Are its shape and size of pleasing proportions ? What is the quality of its crafting on the exterior ? Is it well formed ? Is it well carved ? Do you understand the symbolism in its design, in itself a most important feature ? Move your fingertips over its outer surface. Even if it is carved in detail, it should reward you with a feeling of coolness, sometimes even of an oily smoothness. Any sharpness or roughness indicates that it is unfinished and unrefined.

Does the stopper add attractiveness to the bottle? Is the stopper a proper counterbalance in size and shape to the body? Carefully remove the stopper. While it is not the most important part of a bottle, the stopper should have a well fitted cork and pleasing spoon. Perhaps, with luck, you have discovered an old and possibly an original cork and spoon. Probably the stopper no longer is a snug fit for the bottle. If this is so, it is a fault easily overlooked, because we can now appreciate the difference between the old and te new !

Now examine the hole and the interior of the bottle. Is the hole neatly placed, at the center of the neck? Is it in good proportion to the bottle? Is the interior sufficiently hollowed to be used as the container for snuff that it was intended to be? Has the interior been well polished? Without looking at the bottle, hold it in one hand, feel its heft, its balance, all the while examining and feeling the surface with your fingertips. True lovers of snuff bottles learn to feel with the eyes, see with the hands, and taste with the mind. As one does in Zen meditaion, make your mind blank. A kind of communication begins between yourself and the bottle. If this happens, your are conquered: Doomed to be a collector !

Some soon learn that like meditation, we have only to touch our snuff bottles to enter into a spiritual relationship with the people who made tem or with the owners whose ands have held them in the past. By means of this contact we become sensitive to the past. We also become instant connoisseurs.  Smiley
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