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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.


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A burlwood bottle

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Author Topic: A burlwood bottle  (Read 3742 times)
Joey Silver / Si Zhouyi 義周司
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« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2018, 02:52:57 pm »

Dear Tom,

     As I think I mentioned - I love the bottle but hate the stopper.
Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver (Si Zhouyi 義周司), collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2018, 07:48:56 pm »

Dear All,
Thanks for your comments.

Dear Joey,
What if I changed the Pekingese pooch for an Irish wolf hound?   Grin

Best,
Tom
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« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2018, 12:06:45 am »

A lovely bottle, Tom.

Thanks for sharing.

Inn Bok
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Joey Silver / Si Zhouyi 義周司
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« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2018, 12:38:13 pm »

Dear Tom,

    I'll be honest with you. I have a very limited range of stoppers I like.

For most snuff bottles, I like a round domed or flat-topped cabochon, on a black onyx collar, and possibly with a tiny mineral finial [the famous Imperial 'nipple' stopper!].
The stone or other material should balance out Yin & Yang between the bottle and the stopper [so coral red or green Jadeite balance out white Nephrite, for example].

For a melon or fruit shape, I like a 'stem-shaped stopper, in coral or jade, etc.

For an animal form snuff bottle [dog, turtle, dragon tortoise, fish, etc.], I like a round bead shape.

For an unusually shaped mouth, a matching shaped stopper which still honours the rule of balancing Yin & Yang.

Best,
Joey
 


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Joey Silver (Si Zhouyi 義周司), collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #24 on: November 20, 2018, 03:43:34 am »

Hi Tom,

Stopper looks quite cute to me. As someone who appreciates and has worked with wood I am adding my burlwood bottle to this thread.

Burlwood snuff bottle with flattened body, 57mm, carved with a tree on one side and a lingzhi on the other, nippled jadeite stopper with black collar and good ivory spoon, recessed flat foot, 19th Century ?.

Regards, Adrian.


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Joey Silver / Si Zhouyi 義周司
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« Reply #25 on: November 20, 2018, 04:10:01 am »

Dear Adrian,

     Why have you not shown the mouth?
Also, why do you give a 19th C. dating?
I would date it ca. 1750 - 1850. As well, I really like the 'cut-off' flared neck.
This can be considered a 'marker' for Palace Workshops bottles.
Best,
Joey
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« Reply #26 on: November 20, 2018, 04:35:51 am »

Hi Adrian,

Very elegant bottle! The overall shape closely resembles 18th and early 19th century examples in jade, agate and lapis. It was more usual for any carved decoration on the two main sides to be framed within a border, but there is no other reason to place your bottle at a later date.

All best,
Tom
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« Reply #27 on: November 20, 2018, 04:37:26 am »

Like Tom said, "very elegant" , and congratulations !
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« Reply #28 on: November 20, 2018, 05:34:33 pm »

Adrian,

This is really nice, I also like the spoon!

Joey,

Can you describe in more detail about the 'marker' for Palace Workshop bottles?

Cheers,

Rube.
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« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2018, 09:01:59 pm »


Adrian,

As Joey mentioned it would be helpful to see the top and mouth of the bottle.  It is obvious that the spoon is too long for appears to striking the bottle bottom and being bent up.  Also, try to get a look at the interior of the bottle.  Is the interior smooth or polished, or rough (think of the outer shell of a coconut)?  If smooth or polished then it could be old.

Regarding the dating, I'm going to be the naysayer on this one.  The wood patina is not what I would expect on very old bottle to the date that Joey would suggest.  Yes, the bottle shape appears to be that of older stone bottles, but with the limited view as provided by the photos and the information provided, my gut is saying late 1800's to early 1900's; a hundred years later at least.   

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

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« Reply #30 on: November 20, 2018, 09:43:20 pm »


It is obvious that the spoon is too long for appears to striking the bottle bottom and being bent up.
 

I didn't know ivory/bone could bend so easily. When I saw the spoon I thought to myself: "How cute - it's end is curled up to imitate a leaf!"

Tom
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« Reply #31 on: November 20, 2018, 10:28:05 pm »

I didn't notice the spoon is imitating a leaf. Cheesy so adorable its.

Congratulations Adrian!

Steven

 
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« Reply #32 on: November 20, 2018, 11:07:17 pm »

Quote
I didn't know ivory/bone could bend so easily. When I saw the spoon I thought to myself: "How cute - it's end is curled up to imitate a leaf!"

It could be that the spoon is actually made that way, only Adrian can tell use that.  However, I have see a few bent spoons in the past do to it being to long.  It all depends on the spoon material and how thin (flexible) the spoon tip is!!!

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

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« Reply #33 on: November 23, 2018, 04:18:59 am »

Thanks for all the comments  Smiley

The date I gave was from the auction description because I didn't have much of an opinion date wise.

I haven't managed to get a good picture of the mouth but the bottle has been hollowed quite well without then being overly smoothed inside.

If wooden bottles didn't suit snuff that well then could they have been more of a scholars item to be appreciated more than used ? in which case they may not have been handled much.

For me logic would say the spoon was made with a curl on the end, it fits the subject of the carving on the bottle. It's not hard to make a spoon the correct length for a bottle but if it was made long then the stopper would not sit properly and pushing the stopper down with force to make it sit on the neck wouldn't work. Ivory has a degree of give in it before it would snap so wouldn't bend and then hold that bent shape on being forced into the bottle once. It could hold the bent shape over a period of time but pressure would need to be held onto the stopper for all that time and the cork is not enough to hold that sort of pressure.

You can steam wood to bend it so it may not be that the spoon was carved in the shape it is but had the curl put into the end by some other means.


Regards, Adrian.
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« Reply #34 on: November 23, 2018, 11:51:32 am »


Adrian,

I did not read your description close enough to catch that you did mention that it was an ivory spoon, thus you are right it would have been made that way. 

My question to the smoothness of inside walls goes to the matter of cleaning out the interior of the bottle periodically.  Particularly, when the user changes out to a different flavor or type of snuff.  If the interior has exposed wood fibers (i.e., not highly polished, waxed, or otherwise coated) there would 1) be a tendency for the exposed raw wood to absorb any oils and/or scents of the snuff being used and 2) the snuff particles would adhere to the inside of the bottle and would be impossible to completely remove/clean.  Thus creating cross contamination when changing out to different snuffs.   

Now if the user was to limit the bottle's use to one brand of snuff this becomes a non-issue. 

My experience in handling wooden bottles made for use has been that the wood has a very tight grain (such as a burlwood) and the artist or craftsman on quality bottles went to the same extent of smoothing the interior wall as if it were polished stone bottle. 

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

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« Reply #35 on: June 13, 2022, 11:16:47 pm »


In my opinion functional wood bottles are not easily found.  Unless finished to a very fine and hard surface on the interior and sealed as well, wood snuff bottles are not the best functional medium for snuff usage.  If not finely finished on the interior and left with exposed ragged fibers, snuff will cling to the bottle interior badly and would be near impossible to cleaned.  Cleaning and/or exposure to water can affect the bottle's finish, and wood (unless very fine grain and dense) would tend to readily absorbs oils and scents often uses to enhance snuff.  Thus wood, unless very dense (hard!) with a tight grain, is not one of the better snuff bottle materials.  However, if they possess the latter characteristics, they can be both functional and beautiful.

Burlwood Snuff Bottle:
Of flatten rectangular form purported to be “cherry” burlwood, well hollowed, with matching wood stopper and a wood plug.  Bottle came with no spoon.  Birdseye and fine curly, wavy, grain hard burlwood with a rich silky matte finish.  Bottle sets on a neatly caved oval foot rim.  Height is 6.5 cm by 6.0 cm by 2.2 cm wide.  Weight is 38.4 g without stopper.   

Period: ca. 19th century

Condition: Good, with a number of minor dents and abrasion from use.  Residual snuff coated interior.

Provenance: Houston Antique Auction, Texas Antique Collections, 22 Dec 2021, Lot 344

See bottom pic for example of cherry burlwood, Charll


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* 100_Cherry_Burlwood_bfix.jpg (441.74 KB, 1140x855 - viewed 8 times.)
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Charll K Stoneman, Eureka, California USA, Collector Since 1979.

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« Reply #36 on: June 14, 2022, 12:04:48 am »

Great bottle Charll.

I have several bottles made of wood. Two or three of them are burlwood and display some chatoyancy, similar to your example, only with less of the 'birdseye' pattern. But I would be hard pushed to identify which species of tree the burl came from.

What is confusing is that the Chinese traditionally tend to lump all burlwoods together, calling it either yingmu or huamu. Most commonly used species are camphor, elm, cedar, cypress and willow. Also birch (huamu), which is generally distinguished by it's light yellow tone figured with rust-coloured 'birdseye' or curling patterns. I have one bottle that probably fits this latter category.

Tom
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Joey Silver / Si Zhouyi 義周司
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« Reply #37 on: June 14, 2022, 07:04:19 am »

Dear Charll and Tom,

     Thank you both for the information.
But pray tell, what is 'chatoyancy'?
Joey
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Joey Silver (Si Zhouyi 義周司), collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #38 on: June 14, 2022, 07:09:05 am »

Charll, a nice functional looking bottle. Has the base been removed for hollowing?
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John O'Hara

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« Reply #39 on: June 14, 2022, 08:45:36 am »


But pray tell, what is 'chatoyancy'?


Dear Joey,

The following is courtesy of a Google search:

While the definition refers to gemstones, many characteristics define chatoyancy in wood, as well.
 
In gemology, chatoyancy (/ʃəˈtɔɪ.ənsi/ shə-TOY-ən-see), or chatoyance or cat’s eye effect, is an optical reflectance effect seen in certain gemstones. Coined from the French “śil de chat”, meaning “cat’s eye”, chatoyancy arises either from the fibrous structure of a material, as in tiger’s eye quartz, or from fibrous inclusions or cavities within the stone, as in cat’s eye chrysoberyl.

Best,
Tom


* chatoyancy in wood.jpg (16.57 KB, 300x225 - viewed 5 times.)
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