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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
December 04, 2022, 04:50:15 pm
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Are these snuff bottles?

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Author Topic: Are these snuff bottles?  (Read 812 times)
DDbySnS
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« on: September 19, 2019, 01:22:33 pm »

Hello all,
I thought these were miniature vases but I couldn't find any information when I searched under celadon vases. What I did find when researching another item, was a snuff bottle that was very similar. I bought these, among many other items, from the estate sale of a 96 year old collector. She identified these as 17th C, based on the label affixed to base of one. But I purchased something she had labeled as Chinese Imari and it turned out to be Japanese Imari (still very nice pieces).
Each bottle/flask is about 8.7 cm (slightly less that 3.5 inches). The decoration is incised. Any help is appreciated.
Thanks,
Shea


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George
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2019, 07:39:37 pm »

These small flasks were being used to hold powdered medicines long before the better known snuff bottles was introduced into China.

Towards the last half of the Ming dynasty, the cylindrical medicine bottles became taller and more slender, while a flask shaped type also emerged.

There are many modern copies of these flasks on eBay and elsewhere. I am not good at telling the difference between the modern celadon and antique.

Hopefully someone experienced here can better date these for you..
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DDbySnS
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« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2019, 08:29:12 pm »

Thank you, George!
They pretty sure they are antique. The collector is 96 years old and her home was essentially a mini-museum. I purchased Kangxi, Annamese, Swatow, and other Ming items from the collection. From what I understand, people traveled from Florida to Virginia to attend this sale. I was fortunate enough to be within an hour's drive. Hopefully, someone on the forum can confirm that the collector's date is accurate.
Thanks again for the information.
Shea
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Fiveroosters aka clayandbrush
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2019, 02:01:50 am »

Dear Shea,
as correctly described by George, these were medicine bottles. The decoration is not incised, it is molded.
I think that they are 19th century, although difficult to prove; but I would exclude, anyway, a 17th century dating.
If you wish, I will be happy to give you my opinion on the Kangxi and Ming items that you have purchased.
I have sent you a personal message with my private address, in case you do not wish to show the purchased items in a public Forum.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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DDbySnS
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2019, 05:32:41 am »

Thank you, Giovanni!
How can I tell the difference between incised and molded? I appreciate your help.
I will also respond to your message.
Thanks,
Shea
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Fiveroosters aka clayandbrush
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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2019, 07:36:46 am »

Dear Shea,
an incised decoration consists of lines incised with a more or less sharp tool into the body, like grooves. In that case, the lines have a darker color than the background, because the thickness of the glaze within the groove is bigger.
A molded decoration is just the opposite. The lines are in relief, like ribs. Hence the thickness of the glaze on the lines is thinner and consequently the color is lighter compared to the background.
Regards,
Giovanni
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DDbySnS
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2019, 09:48:42 am »

Thank you for that explanation!  Now that you explained it, it makes perfect sense Smiley
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forestman
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« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2019, 09:54:41 am »

Hi Shea,

I have a couple of similar bottles to yours. Denis Crow (who collected snuff bottles) wrote an article in the Arts of Asia magazines about medicine bottles and these celadon glazed flask shaped bottles he dates to the Qianlong period 1736-1795.

Snuff was considered a medicine and there is an overlap between medicine and snuff bottles. As snuff bottles tend to fetch more money a number of what are more likely medicine bottles are claimed as snuff bottles when their actual use for either medicine or snuff cannot really be properly established.

Regards, Adrian.
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DDbySnS
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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2019, 11:40:49 am »

Thank you, Adrian, for that additional information and the help with dating the bottles. It is much appreciated!
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Joey
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« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2019, 04:25:57 pm »

Guys,
Dennis G. Crow was a dealer, not a collector.

And his dating those examples to Qianlong period is as dicy as his stories [plural] of when his family got out of HONG KONG just moments before the Japanese invasion; or got out of HKG in 1939, after WWII was declared in Europe; or on the last American ship allowed out of SHANGHAI by the Japanese Forces in 1939/1940/late 1941; or... well you get my drift.
I once heard him talk, with great authority, on Hardstones, and then refer to 'Softstones' with equal authority!

    He also once advised a collector to boil underglazed soft paste B & W SBs with bleach in the water, to get staining out of the cracks. [!]

    I would take almost anything Dennis Crow said, with a large grain of salt.
Best,
Joey
« Last Edit: September 27, 2019, 05:12:14 pm by Joey » Report Spam   Logged

Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

DDbySnS
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« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2019, 07:49:15 pm »

Thanks for the advice,  Joey. I haven't had a chance to do any more research on the bottles. I think comparing them to other celadon porcelain will help.
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forestman
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« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2019, 03:26:04 am »

Hi Joey and Shea,

I thought I had seen snuff bottles from a Dennis Crow collection but I must have been mistaken  Embarrassed

The same style of bottles are also dated to Qianlong in Raymond Li's book "The Medicine-Snuff bottle connection" but I am no expert and there may be subtle differences that would alter dating.

Regards, Adrian. 
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Joey
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« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2019, 05:17:31 pm »

Dear Adrian,

     I'm sure you have seen catalogues titled "The Dennis G. Crow Collection". He would present himself as a collector who was weeding out,
but in reality, was a dealer.
    And he was self-described in the Membership Directory as a dealer.
Best,
joey
« Last Edit: October 03, 2019, 03:46:01 pm by Joey » Report Spam   Logged

Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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