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Learning With Hugh Moss / Recipe To Collecting Snuff Bottles

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Author Topic: Learning With Hugh Moss / Recipe To Collecting Snuff Bottles  (Read 4877 times)
Peter Bentley 彭达理
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« on: July 20, 2011, 09:04:35 am »

Hi  George

However   did  you   dig  up that  old  article?  That  was  Hugh  Moss   almost  40  years  ago,  which  must be  when  he  was  in his   20's.  

I heard  somewhere that  Hugh's  father   had  an  anitique  business ( I  think it  was  paintings),which  Hugh  inherited, so he   learned  the  "trade"   very  early  in life.  Can't remember  when Hugh got  into  snuff bottles,  but  one can see the  enthusiasm  of  a  young   collector   in what   he  wrote  all those  years  ago

And  it's  still  very  true   today.  One  does need  all those  5  tools  ( or  virtues  depending on how  one   views  them), especially  courage   and enthusiasm .    To some  extent  the use  of  computers  and  digital  cameras    simplifies photographic  memory  and   method,  which   why I devoted  so  much time to downloading  Bill's   website,  studying and  scanning  books,  and  photographing  every bottle  I  see, whether I  buy it  or  not, and   finally  building the   data  base.

And  of couse  ... logic, which  has  led  us  on the  forum  into the  whole  murky  area  of  multiple  copies  of the  same bottle ( and/or  unsigned   practice bottles  which  find their   way to the  market  when  young artists   are  short of   cash to  pay this  month's bills)

I am now  in BJ . and  as  usual   I have visited    the  local   bottle   shop  in the Landmark Hotel  shopping  arcade  where  I bought  several  of my  early bottles.   The   owner, whom I know  ( and his   wife)    have  virtually given up  selling  "prime" bottles  because  they say  they must  pay so  much for them   that even  after  huge  discount  from the     shy-high  asking prices (  US$ 1,000  -  1,500 )   they cannot  make  any money.  There's one bottle    by  Yu Nong  which  I  quite  like  which  I refuse to  pay  more than  RMB4,000 for,  but  for  which  they  refuse to  charge  less than  RMB4,500 . I will  keep  going back  to the  shop  every  time  I'm in  BJ , which is  roughly  once per month, and  see  if  eventually  I  can whittle them   down.  Gave  them a  copy  of  the   DB  today  as a  gift , so maybe  that  will  soften  them  up.

BUT........ and here's a     real  shocker  !  I  had  heard  via  the  Hengshui  grapevine  that  there's  a  guy  who  often   buys  bottles  in  HS for a    specialist bottle  shop  in     BJ's  premier  art  emporium in WangFuJing Street,  which   street  is   BJ's   premier  shopping  area  (  sort  of   like  The  Strand  in London)  .  So I decided to    seek out this   shop  today, and   when  I  got there  it  was  obviously    a     sort  of  Chinese  " CAC"  (  CAC   is  HK's  premier   Chinese  Arts and  Crafts     chain of   stores  -  some  fantastic  things  there  for  sale .  And  one  particular  CAC    store  is  where  the  artist-of-the-month  comes )  

I was therefore   quite   excited  as I went  in, and  was  asking  myself  why  - in  25  years  of  going to  BJ - I had  never  heard  of  this place.    Certianly,  so I thought, there  would  be  some  great  bottles   on  display

When  I  finally  found the  bottle  section   I was  totally  shocked.   Very  few bottles, mostly  junk  (  far  lower  quality   than the  RMB  200  - 300   student bottle    shelves  in Wang Xisan's   HS   Museum, where  one  can  find   some  beautiful  bottles )  - in fact   just  tourist   junk, but  at     true  artist  prices  :  RMB3,000  -  5,000  !

Then,  a  little   corner  with   a handful  of  bottles   obviously a  bit  more  professionally  painted  (  but  none of  which I liked  in the  least  )    and  at prices in the  RMB80,000  =  US$ 12,000  range  !

I  kid you  not. Wish  I  had   taken  my camera  just to  prove  it.  

These  were  bottles  that  I would  not  pay  more than  RMB1,500 ( US$250)    max  for   direct    from an  artist  in HS and   marked  up     FIFTY  TIMES  !  

Needless to say  I left the  place  in a  hurry  .........

Cheers  Peter


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