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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
December 04, 2022, 05:04:22 pm
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A Tartar on a Camel Leading a Dog

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Author Topic: A Tartar on a Camel Leading a Dog  (Read 454 times)
snuffmke
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« on: May 16, 2020, 11:58:44 am »

Hi All,

I'm finally getting around to taking some decent pics of some of the bottles I've had in my collection a while. I have included the description from my grandfather's database, but it any of you have anything additional you could add (or correct as it were) that would be most appreciated.

Hope everyone is doing well in captivity. Wisconsin's Supreme Court knocked down our governor's stay at home declaration and immediately someone posted a pic online of a bar filled stem to stern with people. I'll just stay inside looking at my bottles and reading, thank you very much.

Excerpt:
Porcelain, flattend ovoid form, decorated in famille rose enamels with a design of a tartar seated on a camel, leading a dog. The reverse with a chicken and five chicks. The base with the seal mark of the Tao-kuang emporor, 1821-1850.

Purchased from Hugh Moss at snuff bottle convetion Washington, D.C. (10/24/75)

Brian


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rpfstoneman
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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2020, 03:00:20 pm »


Brian,

Thanks for sharing the bottle.  Like the quality of the photographs, great job!  Yap it is a Daoguang Period bottle, but the bottle pic with the period mark is positioned with the mark upside down.  I only say that because I had to rotate the bottom pic 180 degrees to read the mark.   My mind just cannot due the internal inversion.   Cheesy

I'm cataloging some my bottles today, so to further the description-

Bottle sets on a raised oval foot ring with a Daoguang mark and period (1821-1850).  The stopper is a coral bead with a jadeite (?) inset finial [photo is just a bit out of focus to tell] fitted with a brass collar.  I also presume there is a spoon.     

Charll
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2020, 03:17:03 pm »

Really nice bottle Brian..

I can not add anything except to say that I really like the stopper too.  Is there a spoon attached ?
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2020, 04:23:27 pm »

Dear Brian,

     A great example of a Daoguang Imperial  seal marked and period bottle.
This would have been made in the Imperial Porcelain Works in Jingdezhen, with the dates both you and Charll posted.
These were made as gifts from the Emperor, though without the political message of the ones with a cricket on each side,
or a cricket on a cricket cage, with just a cricket on the reverse. That suggests the Rebus, 'Guo Guor'  ["Loyalty to the Daoguang Emperor", in Mandarin].
As far as I can tell; at least, I've not yet found the rebus meanings of the subjects...
And I have the same problem as Charll, re.inability to read it upside down.... Wink Roll Eyes
Best,
Joey
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2020, 11:13:01 pm »

Bottle sets on a raised oval foot ring with a Daoguang mark and period (1821-1850).  The stopper is a coral bead with a jadeite (?) inset finial [photo is just a bit out of focus to tell] fitted with a brass collar.  I also presume there is a spoon.     

Charll,

Thanks for the info. I invested in a relatively inexpensive lightbox from Amazon and it makes all the difference. Just shot with my iPhone.

I'm guessing the topper piece is spinach jade (nephrite). It has that look. Sorry that pic is blurry. Phone just wouldn't focus on it. Alas, no spoon actually. There's also an extra cork stuck inside the bottle. Not sure how to get that out.

Brian
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2020, 11:13:49 pm »

Really nice bottle Brian..

I can not add anything except to say that I really like the stopper too.  Is there a spoon attached ?
Thanks George. Unfortunately, no spoon. But that's not the end of the world thankfully..

Brian
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2020, 11:24:38 pm »


As far as I can tell; at least, I've not yet found the rebus meanings of the subjects...
And I have the same problem as Charll, re.inability to read it upside down.... Wink Roll Eyes


Joey,

Haha. Ya, sorry about the upside down pic. Shows you how well I read Chinese. I would have thought Hugo Boss (love that btw) would have put the numbers under the bottom of the mark instead of upside down above it. Whatever.

I can't find any meaning to the Tartar on the camel leading the dog, but the five chicks and rooster is a known rebus according to the Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art book. It means teaching the five sons or may your five sons pass their exams or may your five sons rise in rank. Interesting. Not political as you say, though.

Brian
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2020, 11:30:35 pm »

Quote
There's also an extra cork stuck inside the bottle. Not sure how to get that out.

Brian,

There is a way to get old corks out of a bottle using a paperclip.  If you would like some insight on how it is done give me a call. 

Charll
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2020, 12:27:49 am »


I would have thought Hugo Boss (love that btw) would have put the numbers under the bottom of the mark instead of upside down above it. Whatever.


Brian,

As far as I know 'HB' (aka HM) never wrote reference numbers in that way on a bottle - he always used a sticker. It looks more like a museum acquisition number. One well-known museum used to 'paint' red numbers right across the reign marks! (See the illustrations in Michael C. Hughes' book on the Blair Collection.)

I wish I could help you with the camel scene. Reading your description before seeing the photos, I assumed it was a hunting scene. But one look at the 'boy' rider and that docile expression on the Bactrian's face told me otherwise!

Tom
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2020, 05:42:01 pm »

As far as I know 'HB' (aka HM) never wrote reference numbers in that way on a bottle - he always used a sticker. It looks more like a museum acquisition number. One well-known museum used to 'paint' red numbers right across the reign marks! (See the illustrations in Michael C. Hughes' book on the Blair Collection.)

I wish I could help you with the camel scene. Reading your description before seeing the photos, I assumed it was a hunting scene. But one look at the 'boy' rider and that docile expression on the Bactrian's face told me otherwise!

Tom,

That's interesting about the numbers on the bottle. I just assumed that HM put them there. I'm almost positive there are at least two bottles in my grandfather's collection that had them and they both mention HM in the provenance. Did HM buy museum sell-offs in the past? How often does that sort of thing happen?

Brian
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2020, 10:34:36 pm »

Brian,

Museum sell-offs are fairly common. A new museum curator comes along who sees an old bequeathed collection that he/she believes is no longer of public interest, convinces the board of directors that it's disposable, and can raise funds for another enterprise, hence off it goes to the auctioneer's block.

So, be mindful of that if you ever entertain altruistic notions of donating anything to a museum! In her seminal book on snuff bottles, Lilla Perry argues that the best way of disposing of one's collection is to put it on the open market for the next generation of collectors to acquire and enjoy. She did not believe in leaving collections to a museum.   

Anyway, to answer your question, it is very possible that HM acquired bottles from museum sell-offs, either directly or via auction. 

Tom
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2020, 10:47:16 pm »

So, be mindful of that if you ever entertain altruistic notions of donating anything to a museum! In her seminal book on snuff bottles, Lilla Perry argues that that best way of disposing of one's collection is to put it on the open market for the next generation of collectors to acquire and enjoy. She did not believe in leaving collections to a museum.   

Tom,

Very interesting. I forgot about that in her book. I think there's probably a little part of every collector that imagines a museum putting up a permanent exhibition of their life's work. Unless you have the most amazing collection ever, that's probably very unlikely to happen.

Brian
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« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2020, 01:21:16 am »

Brian,

The only circumstance in which a museum exhibition of a collector's life's work is likely to be truly 'permanent' is when the benefactor pays to have a new gallery built to house it, and have it named after them!   Wink

Tom
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« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2020, 06:10:49 am »

Tom is correct, Brian.

And I was part of a problem like that, which got me banned from the home of Sir Lawrence Kadoorie, the wealthiest Jew in Hong Kong [he, and now his heirs, own China Power & Light, which was the conduit between the PRC and the then British crown territory of Hong Kong, for electricity, clean water, etc., and now performs the same service for the Hong Kong Autonomous Region].

I had been in Hong Kong in 1986 or 1987 and my late parents got me an invitation to his sumptuous home in Hong Kong for Shabbat dinner on the Friday evening.
I was cursorily welcomed and had a very nice meal, and was asked what brought me to Hong Kong.
I replied, "Chinese Snuff Bottles!".
All of a sudden, Sir Lawrence perked up, and was much more welcoming.
He said that after dinner, he would show me "The Kadoorie Ivories".
Knowing about the rivalry between the two great Iraqi Jewish dynasties in East Asia, the Sassoons and the Kadoories, I asked if his collection
was as good as the justly famous "Sassoon Ivories", over 500 superb examples, then on display in a beautiful Georgian townhouse, and later donated to the BM by Sir Victor Sassoon's estate in 2018 [but it was already well known from the 1980s that it was going there.].

Sir Lawrence replied, "Everything is bigger, and better".
I saw the collection after dinner, and was very polite in my comments, since I did not want to shame my parents or their friends.

A few years later,  in 1989, Sir Lawrence offered the whole collection to the Israel Museum, and offered to build the  Sir Lawrence Kadoorie  Pavilion to house it, and the Museum's East Asian Art Collections. He used me as a reference, since in 1987 - 1988, I'd had a very successful exhibition there of my snuff bottles. He told the then curator, Rifka Bitterman, that I'd seen the collection, and that it was 'top-drawer'.

Rifka, a personal friend, called and asked my opinion. I explained I'd been polite, but offered to fly my good friend Carol Michaelson, Assistant Keeper of Chinese Antiquities at the BM, over to Jerusalem to advise.
We did that, and I was happy to examine the collection with her. She was not impressed, and neither was I.

 Oscar Wilde was once asked to look at an mss by a young man. After reading it, he called the young man and said this:
"Young man, your mss is interesting in parts and accurate in parts.
Sadly, where it is interesting it is not accurate, And where it is accurate, it is not interesting!"

I paraphrased this and said, "Where the pieces are genuine they are not impressive; and where they are impressive, they are not genuine!".
We were all agreed, and regretfully the Museum refused the collection.
In 1991, I was again  in Hong Kong, and thought I might get another invite to Shabbat dinner.
Not a chance, and I was left in no doubt why.  Roll Eyes Shocked Cry.
C'est la Vie.
Joey
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« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2020, 12:19:19 pm »

Joey,

I can always count on you for the most interesting stories. You've lived a very interesting life. Keep them coming.  Grin

Brian
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« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2020, 01:50:08 pm »

Thank you, Brian.
Many of my stories are due to the interesting and mainly wonderful, people I've met through snuff bottle collecting.
Though I also met interesting people through my family's connections with my godfather [Sandak, in Hebrew],
Menachem Begin of blessed memory [z"l]...
Best,
joey
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