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Mongolia Bottles And Traditional Snuff Use

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George
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« on: June 21, 2011, 06:03:02 pm »

Inner-Mongolia is famous for its silver snuff bottles, Liaoning for agate ones, and Tibet for metal ones.



Mongolians have a custom of sharing their snuff bottles as part of their greeting ritual which is called “Khoorog”. When guests visit, the head of the household will take out their snuff bottle and pass it around to each of the guests, holding it in their right hand and extending it out to the guest as if to shake hands, left hand holding up the right elbow. The guest receives the bottle in the same manner, partially opens the top to take a pleasurable whiff of the snuff inside, removes the cap with a spoon attached, scooping out a small amount of snuff, sprinkles it on the side of their hand then snuffing it into the nose. The cap is then partially replaced, and returned to the host.
 
“Khoorog”constructed with jewels such as agate, chalcedony, carol and jade. It is used greeting on Mongolian national holidays when Tsagaan sar and Naadam.

"Khash khooro" (snuff-bottle made from jade) Was traditionally used by the rich, the jewel is very expensive because of its rarity, and is harder and stronger than most kinds of snuff bottles.

"Shuren Khoorog" (Snuff-bottle made from coral). The khoorog is also very expensive. Mongolians will usually carve many different designs on a Snuff-bottle made from coral. A great gift for women as it is said coral brings health and welfare if you are pregnant.
 
"Mana Khoorog"(snuff-bottle made from chalcedony). The jewel is neither rare nor expensive which is why it’s used widely amongst the general population. It is thought a person using chalcedony will never fall ill with palsy.

"Chunchignorov" (snuff-bottle made from Box-form). Mongolians call it Dorjplam and is thought to recover any wound.

« Last Edit: October 15, 2011, 06:02:00 am by Bottle Guy » Report Spam   Logged

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Peter Bentley 彭达理
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« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2011, 01:54:19 am »

Hi  George

Very  interesting posting.  A  few  months  ago  I was  in Jill Guo Jie  &  Li Hui's  shop  in BJ  and there  was a Mongolian  guy  there  with his   Chinese  translator.  They were  negotiating  with  Li  Hui  over a  carved  stone  bottle  (something  like  Jade , but  not  so precious)  I forget the   exact  price   being  discussed  but  it was EXPENSIVE   by  our standards  ( several  US$ K )  .  Li  Hui is  quite  an  expert in this  field  of   bottles, so  I am told.

Cheers   Peter  ( on the   Guangzhou to  HK   express train)
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« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2011, 08:22:54 pm »

As collectors, how can one not appreciate seeing this traditional use of snuff today. Combined with watching (or if your lucky enough) to participate in the tradition with families like these sharing and passing around their treasured snuff bottles between both themselves and guests.

I just think it is pretty cool...
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« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2011, 02:53:11 am »

Tibet, Mongolia are still probably some of the few places besides Africa where snuff use is still part of daily life.  As such, many art/craft new bottles and designs are still being produced.  The downside of this however, is that it causes as distrust of the 'traditional' collectors looking for 'age', 'provenance', 'appreciation.  Not dissimilar to modern IP bottles.  Some of the bottles are exquisite and still produced like in the oldertimes.  This is true for quartz, jade, chalcedony, coral, etc.... bone, silver...

Sorry to have been 'out of touch' here. been in the UK and snowed under with work. 
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« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2011, 09:34:37 am »



Sorry to have been 'out of touch' here. been in the UK and snowed under with work. 

Glad your checking in Pat !  Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2011, 03:46:30 am »

Thanks!  Glad to be back...  Grin 

Any new finds lately for your collection? 
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« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2011, 05:30:24 am »

No.. Also missed out on a couple of auctions. The bidding got high..

Have my eye on a couple more !
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« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2011, 06:01:02 am »


A Tool That Makes Men's Fire Strong..

A Mongol will buy one if it has male attributes. Mongols do not like decorated bottles.



 
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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2012, 05:54:00 pm »

George,
   Loved the Mongolian's lecture on the resemblance of a white nephrite snuff bottle with a long red (coral? coral glass?) stopper with metal collar (stopper = 'knob'; collar = foreskin ("hidden"?)) to a male being's member.
A hoot! Best, Joey
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« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2012, 04:24:00 pm »

Hi  Joey

A  few  months  ago  I was   in  Jill's  shop  in BJ, and there  were    two  Mongolian  guys  +    interpreter     negotiating   very  hard    with  Li Hui  (  Jill's  husband)   over   some   agate  ( or  some other  kind  of   semi - precious  stone)   bottles

That was  not a   typical  nego    re  an  MIPB  bottle

It was a  nego    re the   real  value  of the    stone

Cheers   Peter
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« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2012, 04:28:34 pm »

Peter, That is very interesting.
    I didn't know Li Hui and Guo Jie sold anything but VMIPs, as well as SB paraphernalia such as stoppers, spoons, and fitted boxes. Joey
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« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2012, 04:33:28 pm »

Hi Joey

Actually,  Jill  and  Li Hui's  main money-making  business  is  NOT   VMIPBs  - as  far  as  I can gauge

The   stoppers   business  is a    small cash  cow  : it pays the  rent  but  not much else

Li Hui  is an  expert  in  both  antique  and  also    early -era   MIPB bottles, so he  buys  and  sells   in this   field  ( and  you  can be pretty  sure  that   anything he  sells  is  the  REAL THING  because  he  has  to  protect  his  reputation)

Recently,  Li  Hui  has  bought  some  superb  bottles   at  USA  auctions   on-line

I know  because Jill   asked  for the bottles to  be  shipped  to me  in HK,   then I hand -carried  to  BJ 

(Li Hui  knows  enough to  understand    when  to  bid  and not to  bid  at  reputable  auction  houses  on-line )

Cheers   Peter

« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 04:41:21 pm by Peter Bentley 彭达理 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2012, 06:14:30 pm »

Peter,
    That is really interesting. Li Hui knows more than me - I'm afraid to bid unless I actually see the bottle or have a friend I really trust, a dealer or expert collector, who can physically examine the bottle.
    Luckily, I have two  friends who are experts in Honolulu, besides YF Yang, and they've found me some serious bottles there, as well as saved me from a serious mistake.
    A well known American collector was selling her collection of 134 antique IPSBs, for serious money (±400K USD); I was going to buy the whole collection, and the price seemed reasonable, considering there were 36 Zhou Leyuans, 25 Ma Shaoxuans, 4 Ma Shaoxians, 20 Ye Zhongsan elder, and another 20 Ye Family, 3 Ding Erzhongs, as well as a few examples from each of a number of 'lesser' artists; my close friend, who did his MA thesis on her collection, warned me that many of the bottles were 'signed' ZLY or MSX or YZS, etc., but by other lesser artists, and a number of the genuine signed ones had been damaged by the lady's cats, using them as toys.
   I offered to pay more per bottle, but to choose what I wanted; from the response, I knew the 'lady' knew she'd not always bought 'wisely', and was trying to slip the copies through. ALL the bottles were from 1810-1930; just not all by the names signed on the bottles.
   Joey
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« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2012, 08:43:12 pm »



Li Hui  is an  expert  in  both  antique  and  also    early -era   MIPB bottles, so he  buys  and  sells   in this   field  ( and  you  can be pretty  sure  that   anything he  sells  is  the  REAL THING  because  he  has  to  protect  his  reputation)


Can't help but wonder if a guy can get good or at least fair  Middle Period prices..
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« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2012, 09:22:09 pm »

Hi  George,  Joey

I have   absolutely  no idea  how  Li Hui   judges the   worth of bottles    when he  buys  on-line  via USA  auctions. 
From the  tiny  sample that  passed through my hands  ( actually  , I never  even   unpacked them  from their bubble-wrap   so I only saw them  very  briefly   when  Li Hui and Jill    opened them  over  dinner  in BJ ) they seemed  to  more  of   the  semi-precious  stone  type  , not    antique   IPBs   -    but there  was  one   WXS  in  very  smoky  glass bottle   which   he  had  picked  up for  $1K  or  so .

Maybe   he  buys   half a  dozen  when  he think there is a  good chance they are  for  real   but the  price  has not  gone too  high,  and    allows  for  a  certain %  of them to  be   throw-aways.

This  whole  field  is  very  very deep,  and with  so many  highly skilled  fakes  and  also   genuine  antique  rubbish   one must be  very  experienced  to  authenticate  a bottle    ( and I guess the same   goes  for  any  Chinese   antique  ceramic  , some of  which  go  for     totally  galactic  prices )

So I just   stick  to the   tiny corner  of VMIPBs   where  I   know  what is   what

Cheers   Peter
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« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2012, 04:55:31 am »

  Peter,
    I think you are very wise; better to get a great collection in a niche subject, than try to cover the whole spectrum.
 And I don't say you are wise because I decided to do the very same thing 20-odd years ago!
That was when I decided to concentrate on three, at that time very under-valued, areas of collecting snuff bottles: antique and modern IPSBs;  nephrite jades, mainly white; and blue & white porcelains. Now they've gone crazy as well. 
  Best, Joey
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« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2012, 05:55:37 am »

Hi Joey

Thanks  for  the   endorsement  on the   whole "endorsement   process"

I  think ( hope)  I   did   the  right   thing  to  FOCUS    on   the  very  small  area  of  VMIPBs  where  I consider  myself   qualified.

I  may  sometimes  offer  an  opinion   outside   that     tiny  area, but  it's  only ever  just an  "opinion"

Cheers   Peter

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« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2012, 01:26:28 pm »

Peter,
   ALL opinions are 'just' opinions; I wasn't speaking from the Pope's throne, or Mt. Sinai, last time I checked; ;-)
If you don't feel qualified to voice an opinion because it is not an area you are familiar with, fair enough; but with your common sense and savvy, I'd venture an opinion (humble as it might be), that your 'two cents' would be worth more than that to almost any discussion.
  Joey
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« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2012, 08:10:24 pm »

Hi Joey

AMEN

Cheers   Peter
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« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2012, 11:13:16 pm »


As collectors, how can one not appreciate seeing this traditional use of snuff today. Combined with watching (or if your lucky enough) to participate in the tradition with families like these sharing and passing around their treasured snuff bottles between both themselves and guests.

I just think it is pretty cool...


Hi George,

Just to let you know that an article on Mongolian bottles I wrote some years ago has finally been published in the latest issue of the ICSBS Journal.

Tom
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Collecting since 1971

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