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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.

"The Peter Bentley Snuff Bottle Collection"
and "introduction by Bill Patrick"


Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
January 27, 2022, 09:29:08 pm
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Mind blowing

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Paul
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« on: January 23, 2019, 05:37:49 am »

Hello all,

I have been absent from the forum for quite a while due to personal reasons and ill health, but am now fighting fit and very keen to learn more about this fascinating subject.

Hello Joey, hope you and your jades are well.

Please may I ask if anyone can explain to me how when one looks at the major auction house description of snuffs, they describe them as being a date that always seems to overlap?  I can understand them being described as say late 18th to early 19th, or the first half of the 19th etc.,
but they very often don't do that.

They describe them as being very specific dates such as, 1736 -1750, or 1736 - 1795, or 1750 - 1780, or 1750 - 1795.

Is it because certain types such as enamel of a certain size, or overlay glass using certain colours, or cloisonne of a certain shape were only produced during that period, or is it more refined than that?

Are there examples you know of, that specific shapes of a specific size and material can only apply to a certain date?

Joey, you often state specific dates, how do you do it?

Any guidance you can give will be most appreciated.

Thank you.

Paul.

PS
George, I originally posted this topic in the General Forum Information and Guides category and realized it was not the correct category for the subject matter. I did try to delete it but the system wouldn't allow me. Perhaps you would be so kind as to remove it from that category.

Thank you.
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Wattana
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2019, 11:17:45 pm »

Hi Paul,

Welcome back. I believe Joey is travelling, so it may be a few days before he gets a chance to respond.
Meanwhile, this may answer part of your question...

Scroll down the left-hand margin of your screen, where you will find 'Chronology in Perspective' (icon looks like a large orange 'C'). Click on the link, which will take you to a thread dealing with the topic of dating.

If you study the chart therein you will notice several historically recorded 'key dates' when a certain type of workshop first appeared or was destroyed, and so on. These help define specific dates, which act as 'markers'. Beyond that, it comes down to experience in spotting trends in detailing of mouth, neck, shoulders, foot-rim, base, hollowing, etc.

All best,
Tom
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Paul
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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2019, 03:38:42 am »

Hello Tom,

Thank you for your reply.

To be honest, I didn't expect a definitive answer, but I thought I might be lucky enough to encourage some sort of pointers such as, 'Sapphire blue glass only appeared about 1750' or 'very early overlay pieces should be either on clear, white or milk glass' etc.

Thank you for your suggestion regarding the Chronology chart. This is new to me and I intend studying it in detail.

I must be honest, of all the subjects I have studied in antiques, to which there are many and I do go into some detail when a subject interests me, I have to say I find snuff bottles particularly difficult to grasp. Yes, because of this wonderful website and the major auction house archives, I can now automatically recognize most repros, but it's the dating of antique pieces I find most difficult.

I suppose it is a lack of handling good pieces that stumps me. I did have the distinct pleasure of meeting Joey a few years ago where he very kindly allowed me the privilege of handling some of his jade pieces, but apart from that I have no 'hands on' experience. The fairs I go to never have good snuffs, so I suppose the only way forward is for me to attend Sothebys, Christies and Bonhams during the next Asian week to actually handle them. I am sure that will enlighten me.

Thanks again.

Regards,

Paul.
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Joey
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« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2019, 05:19:02 pm »

Dear Paul,

    It is great to hear from you again.
I remember fondly our 'Chinese takeaway' lunch in my cousins' garden in Oxford that summer day, and really enjoyed showing you the bottles I had with me.
 
    Tom, as usual, has explained most of it, and rather more eloquently than I might have.

    As Tom pointed out, there are certain known dates that give parameters to help with  dating a snuff bottle [or other small object].

    In Jades, we know that control over Khotan, the source of fine Nephrite Jade, was lost by the Kangxi Emperor in 1710,  after 48 years on the Dragon Throne; and Imperial Qing control over Khotan was imposed after the Qianlong Emperor's conquest in 1756 or 1757.

   So if you've got a superbly worked Jade snuff bottle in Nephrite, and therefore best guess is that it is Imperial Palace Workshops but the material is a 'crappy' piece of Jade, 99% probability is that we can date it
to ca. 1710 - 1757. 

   In B & Ws, we know that the Taiping rebel forces conquered Jingdezhen
in 1854. When they were forced to retreat in 1858 by the victorious Qing government forces, the Taiping murdered almost all the 20,000 inhabitants and destroyed the kilns.

    So any genuine mark and period Xianfeng bottles HAVE to have been made between 1851 and 1854. And the kilns were only restored beginning in 1868, 7 years into the Tongzhi Emperor's reign...

    There is  info out there to help narrow dates down. For example, there was a specific shade of Imperial Yellow for each Emperor.
 Yongzhi's was a pale lemon yellow; etc.

Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

Jungle Jas
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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2019, 05:48:11 pm »

Hi Paul,

You have brought up a very interesting but difficult subject as has already been stated. One that I find very difficult to get a handle on, although I have been collecting bottles for many years. Your Idea regarding visiting auction houses in Asian week is a good one, I remember doing the same thing my self many years ago. Good luck with expanding your knowledge, you my be in for a long haul. I have also found auction catalogues a mine of information, and buy them whenever I have the opportunity. Museums are another good source of information and many of them have collections although they are not always on display. 

Kind regards, Jason. 
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Paul
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2019, 01:57:48 pm »

Shabbat Shalom Joey,

It is so nice to say hello again. I will never forget our meeting and you allowing me to handle and inspect your superb jade snuffs, it was my ‘antiques experience of the year’. Your collection is amazing. As you know, my main passion is jade and although I have a good collection, I still haven’t acquired an antique jade snuff yet. But I will.

Thank you for pointing me in the right direction with your your tips regarding dates, it will be very useful to me as a place to start studying from. I have kept a file containing you numerous words of wisdom, these tips are going to join them. In the past I have tried to read up on all  snuffs which, quite honestly, has not seemed to work for me. So now I think the best way forward for me is to now concentrate on jade snuffs only. We,ll see how it works out.

Hello Jason,

Thank you for your kind words, I am glad to note that I am not the only one finding snuff dating exceptionally difficult.


Kind regards,

Paul.
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Joey
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« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2019, 03:49:12 pm »

Dear Paul,

    I really enjoyed our meeting, looking at some of my Jade SBs and sharing delicious Chinese food from 'Xi'an' in Summertown Oxford.
   
    Sadly, one of the ladies present on that day has passed away {Patricia Gilder Simmonds z"l}, and the second, my cousin Mel's mother in law,
Helen, has had to be institutionalised in a home, due to dementia.

    Now, all 87 Jades are in Israel, but consider coming to see them.
Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

Paul
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« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2019, 04:19:59 am »

Hello Joey,

I am very sorry to hear that sad news.  G_d be with them both.

Unfortunately due to my illnesses my memory is not what it should be. Please remind me, one of the ladies I spoke with that afternoon had, what I considered to be, an astonishing background, maybe during the war or was it to do with the government?

Kind regards,

Paul.

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« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2019, 04:36:25 am »

Dear Paul,

     BOTH had had amazing lives.

     Patricia Gilder Simmonds z"l had been married to the head of MI6 in SE Asia, and when he was killed in Laos, returned from Thailand [where they'd been based] to the UK and then became HM the Queen's correspondence secretary [dealing with mail sent to the Queen from the public at large]. She stayed at that job from ca. 1969 to ca. 2008.

    Helen Edelman and her husband had to be 2 of the stupidest Jews in Poland. In 1925, they converted to Protestant Christianity, which was even lower on the social ladder by far, than Jews! Then, during the Nazi occupation they converted to Catholic and were then hidden by Polish Catholics, and were expelled by the Polish Communists in 1967 as Jews!
They went to Denmark, and after her husband died, she moved to Oxford to be with her daughter.

    Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

Paul
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« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2019, 05:15:59 am »

Hello Joey,

Thank you for that. 

It was Patricia that I remembered speaking with. A remarkable woman who, do doubt, had experienced much more in life than she actually spoke of.

Kindest regards,

Paul.
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Joey
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« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2019, 07:13:24 pm »

Dear Paul,

      I kind of thought you meant Patricia z"l. An amazing, and seriously kind, lady. She was also on the London stage in the 1940s! Check out Patricia Gilder.
Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

vdawg4
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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2019, 07:03:02 am »

Excellent info concerning dating sb.  I generally assume a bottle in the 30 to 50 price range is new or repo. But one can always hope a jewel in the rough slips by!

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