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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
November 26, 2022, 04:20:06 pm
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Underglaze Cobalt Blue Dragon Designs

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Author Topic: Underglaze Cobalt Blue Dragon Designs  (Read 1750 times)
rpfstoneman
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« on: November 27, 2015, 05:05:14 pm »

All,

Here is another recent bottle acquisition with a Dragon design.

Underglaze Cobalt Blue Porcelain Snuff Bottle with Confronting Dragons:
A cylindrical shape bottle depicting two confronting five clawed scaly dragons in underglaze cobalt blue in pursuit of a flaming pearl among clouds and intermingled flames.  The lower dragon is rising from a lively sea of alternating crested waves and sea foam.   Good use of tonal contrast and detail in the painting of the dragons and companying scene.  Darker blue areas of the dragon’s claws, nose and muzzle area, back spine spikes, and flames are done with “heaped-n-piled” cobalt blue creating pleasant tactual effect when rubbed.

The bottle has a six trefoil neck design with dots below and between the trefoil pendants.   Also, an interesting diagnostic with these bottles is that the forelegs of the dragons are not completely scaled to the claws, but have unscaled forelimbs.

               

The bottle is clay coil construction supported on an unglazed ring foot.  Interior of base is glazed with no period mark.  The bottle interior is glazed coated and has a relative small (15mm) flared mouth.  Height is 7.8 cm without the stopper and is 3.2 cm wide at base. 

Period: ca. 1850-1875, Possibly Imperial, Jingdezhen Kilns

Condition: Near perfect and has appropriate surface abrasion from use.  Bottle came without a stopper or spoon.

Provenance:  Out of a UK Collection.

Similar Reference:  Similar to bottle #14, “In Search of a Dragon”, the Joey Silver Collection.

Follow-up Info: According to John Ault’s analysis the dots on the band around the neck both between and below the trefoil motif, as seen on this bottle, were first seen during the Xainfeng reign (1851-1862) and continued into the Tongzhi period (1862-1874).  This pattern is illustrated on several published bottles, including two shown in “Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Collection of John Ault” numbers 177 and 179 and number 67 of “In Search of a Dragon” of the Silver Collection.   

Enjoy and add to the information where you can,  Charll


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« Last Edit: December 12, 2015, 12:53:01 am by rpfstoneman » Report Spam   Logged

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

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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2015, 05:17:59 am »

Dear Charll this is really superb! The quality is really high and the dynamism of the dragons is fantastic. Thank you for posting it and for the nice, professional description.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2015, 05:29:24 am »

Charll

As you know I am out of my league with porcelain but I absolutely love these last few bottles. Congratulations!
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Best Regards

Pat
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« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2015, 10:58:37 am »

Beautiful bottle Charll..

The dragon is well defined.. Really nice !

Wonderful description and thank you for sharing another beauty Charll .
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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2015, 10:48:16 am »

Dear Charll,
 
     I agree with the others. This example is superb!
Best,
Joey
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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2015, 11:49:23 am »

Dear Charll

 Beautiful addition, congratulations! Very fine details,  I like the appearance of the dimension of depth in the flaming cloud images rather than sitting flat with nicely defined tail points to them, details that are more commonly absent from the battling dragon themed bottles

Best,

Kevin
« Last Edit: December 06, 2015, 04:51:56 pm by Kevin » Report Spam   Logged

rpfstoneman
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« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2015, 11:32:19 am »

All,

Here another of the dragon motif bottles that I pick up at the recent ICSBS convention in Chicago. This is one of my favorites of the recent purchases.  Showed the bottle to a few of dealers and collectors, and no one could come to a consensus on the dating.  So any further opinions would be great! 

     

Underglaze Cobalt Blue Porcelain Snuff Bottle:
A cylindrical straight side tapered spade shape bottle on an inset raised foot rim depicting a ghostly white five clawed dragon crawling through a stormy sky of blue clouds and smoke.  The dragon is shown as prying on and pushing against the clouds with its claws to give a sense of movement.  The dragon and accompanying flames are open unpainted spaces on the bottle base; a reverse painting method created by simply outlining the design in fine crisp brush strokes and filling in the outside areas outside image sketch in varying densities of blue cobalt wash to create the stormy blue background.  Eyes of the dragon are center set forward as intensely dark blue pupils.  Eight blue dots ring the narrowed neck of the bottle.  The bottle base is unglazed with no mark.

Simulated turquoise (most likely stained magnesite) cabochon set in a gold color metal collar with a stained animal horn spoon.  Height is 6.1 cm without the stopper.

Period: Unknown, bottle has elements of both early and later designs.

Condition: Very good.  Bottle surface is very finely abraded and chafed sufficiently to present a somewhat matted finish.

Enjoy, Charll


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« Last Edit: December 13, 2015, 11:39:21 am by rpfstoneman » Report Spam   Logged

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

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« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2015, 05:49:02 pm »

Dear Charl,

Congratulations on you growing collection of dragon snuff bottles.  For dating this one I think that we need to apply a rule of thumb here, "an antique cannot be older than its youngest design element".  Often real antiques like your bottle exhibiting more than one style will signal a transitional piece from the older to the newer style.  So look for the earliest example that shows the youngest design element of your bottle and that should give you the approximate date.

Best regards,

Tom B.
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Best regards,

Tom B.

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« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2015, 06:26:39 pm »

Dear Charl,

Congratulations on you growing collection of dragon snuff bottles.  For dating this one I think that we need to apply a rule of thumb here, "an antique cannot be older than its youngest design element".  Often real antiques like your bottle exhibiting more than one style will signal a transitional piece from the older to the newer style.  So look for the earliest example that shows the youngest design element of your bottle and that should give you the approximate date.

Best regards,

Tom B.

I like this Tom !
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« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2015, 08:53:30 pm »

Wow, two more superbe dragon bottle which make me drool...

Congratulations Charll!!

Steven
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« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2015, 10:13:50 pm »

Dear Charll,

Nice additions.
This is where I have seen the eagle claw bottle.

Cheers,
YT
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« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2015, 12:44:54 am »

Quote
For dating this one I think that we need to apply a rule of thumb here, "an antique cannot be older than its youngest design element".

Tom B.,

Well put.  Now I just need to figure what that youngest element is!  Thanks for the input and comment.

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

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« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2021, 01:19:01 am »


Spending some time this evening tightening up the catalog descriptions on some bottles I've acquired this year.  Joey helped me out with date verification and bottle quality assessment when I purchased the bottle in March 2021.  It was acquired through Susan Page, a London dealer.  Other then Joey, I do not think I've shared this bottle with the group yet, so here it is. 

Underglaze Cobalt Blue Porcelain Snuff Bottle with Confronting Dragons:
Petite ovate rounded bottle depicting a dominant five clawed scaly dragon being confronted by a subordinate dragon in pursuit of a flaming pearl amongst billows of smoke.  The lower dragon is riding a lively sea of rolling cresting waves and sea spray.   Good use of tonal contrast and detail in the painting of the dragons that fills the bottle canvas.  Open dark blue cross-hatched scales laid down individually over the top of a light blue wash.  Ruyi-head boarder around bottle throat.  Bottle interior is glazed.  Bottle rests on a raised unglazed circular foot rim with a four character apocryphal Yongzheng cobalt blue mark on base.     

Height is 5.3 cm by 3.0 cm without the stopper.   Stopper is a lapis cabochon with a braided silver gilded collar mounted to a copper disc with a reddish-cream colored keratin spoon.     

Period: ca. 1780-1840 (per Robert Kleiner)

Condition: Near perfect, with appropriate minor surface abrasion from use. 
 
Provenance:  Out of a UK Collection.
                      Robert Kleiner

Similar Reference: See “In Search of Dragon…” (Joey Silver Collection) plate 10 (pg. 30) for bottle with same design in soft paste.  See No 6 in Chinese Snuff Bottles, Laurence Souksi, Catalogue N°01 for another bottle with similar design.

Gotta love those dragon motifs!  Charll


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

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« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2021, 04:54:25 am »

A great bottle Charll. Thanks for sharing.

I have a couple of blue-and-whites with an apocryphal Yongzheng base mark.
I'd always treated them as being late 19th century or newer. Seeing Robert Kleiner's dating of your bottle, I will examine them more carefully.

Tom
PS: I like the spoon's description as 'keratin'. It leaves open the question of whether it's made of horn, claw, hoof, nail, tortoise shell or even armadillo skin!  Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2021, 05:31:31 am »

Dear Charll,
Thank you for continue posting bottles from your collection.
May I say that I prefer very much the other bottles to this last one? It is a nice bottle, but I don’t like the out of size dragons compared to the size of the bottle. The two dragons are too big, leaving almost no free space, and in fact the flaming pearl is a bit misplaced, and one of the legs of the upper dragon is overlapping the one in the Sea. The single head of the upper dragon is taking about half the height of the bottle.
During the last meeting I had a connection problem and because of that it has not possible to show a bottle that it was my intention to show. It is of the same size of your bottle; both dragons are flying, hence taking more space from the scene, but regardless that, everything is better proportioned, with the flaming pearl correctly placed at the same distance from the two dragons.
I must also say that the foot of your bottle is unusually thick.
I am not saying that the bottle is modern or else, I am just reporting my observation, according to my taste. I am sure you accept that.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2021, 01:17:40 pm »

Like Tom said, I really appreciate you sharing your collection with us Charll..

All are wonderful ..
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« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2021, 08:58:18 pm »

Dear Charll,

Thank you for posting.
Giovanni's observations left me puzzled yet I have not met any other collector that has as many 'Blue and White Dragon' bottles as you. Your knowledge of this particular area should outweigh any dealers.

Truly intriguing bottle!

Cheers,
YT
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« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2021, 12:16:16 am »

YT,
Joey has a much larger collection of blue and white porcelain bottles then I, and I'm using his collection as a model to build my blue and white collection.  Also, Giovanni has some good points, particularly in comparison to other non-snuff bottle Chinese blue and white wares.  As mentioned, the bottle canvas by many would be considered much to full and out of proportional relations when compared to most dragon motifs.  It is a matter of personal taste and preference. 

I favor dragon designs and this bottle fits into a group of similar motif bottles which I did not have an example till now.  So I'm happy to have it.

Giovanni,
To the point on the width of the foot rim, this bottle is made more in the form of a jarlet and most jarlets do have a wider foot rim.  Also, an interesting observation on the design is that the dragons are about the same size and portions as other dragon motif bottles which in this case have been placed on a smaller bottle body.  Thank you for critical look and comments.

Charll   
« Last Edit: September 13, 2021, 12:41:52 am by rpfstoneman » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2021, 09:17:04 am »

Dear Charll,
thank you for well understanding what I meant. It is exactly as you said, a normal size pattern placed on a small bottle.
And thank you for the explication about the thick foot, which indeed makes sense, and I didn’t know or paid attention to it, before.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2021, 06:39:12 pm »

Another beautiful B & W Dragon motif snuff bottle, Charll.
Congratulations.
Joey
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