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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
June 22, 2021, 08:31:32 am
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Well carved Nephrite and Agate

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Author Topic: Well carved Nephrite and Agate  (Read 151 times)
YT
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« on: April 18, 2021, 05:03:55 am »

It has been so quiet recently so would like to share a group of Snuff Bottles starting from this.

Black and white Nephrite. Superbly hollowed, of flattened rounded form resting on a concave oval base and below a slightly tapered neck, the white inclusion of the black stone brilliantly carved in high relief on one face, depicting Mi Fu being fanned by his young attendant both walking on a rocky path. Mi Fu praying towards a tall pierced rock below a scrolling cloud.
The reverse with an incised 'Grass script' inscription set below the leaves and branches of a sweeping willow and above rolling waves carved on the lighter gray inclusions. The poem '石兄足拜自写图,乃知颠名不虚得, signed Shi Tu with a Yun seal' coincides with the carvings in the front.
Height 6.4cm

Provenance: Acquired from Joe Grimberg directly in September 2014. Used to be in the Kardos Collection.

MiFu background - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mi_Fu
https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/36224

Many thanks to Yee Pin for recognizing the poem inscription and thus enabling me to understand this bottle. The star of the bottle is the very well carved rock and not the 2 figures.

During the ICSBS first Zoom meet this Nephrite was mentioned and yet the description is not correct. Thanks to Steven for posting the youtube link.
That started my quest to post this Nephrite and explain the carver's original intent.

Attached is the cover page of 2019 ICSBS journal where this bottle is depicted.

Best,
YT


* 425a.jpg (103.25 KB, 398x600 - viewed 26 times.)

* 425b.jpg (118.54 KB, 431x650 - viewed 24 times.)

* ICSBS 1st Zoom PS.jpg (110.51 KB, 802x659 - viewed 18 times.)

* Autumn 2019 Journal 617X800.jpg (117.67 KB, 617x800 - viewed 17 times.)
« Last Edit: April 18, 2021, 08:33:57 pm by YT » Report Spam   Logged

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Wattana
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« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2021, 07:12:16 am »

Hi YT,

Wow! A simply stunning bottle. Thanks for sharing and explaining the inscription.
Is there a translation of the poem on the internet somewhere?

Regards,
Tom
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YT
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« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2021, 08:21:01 am »

Thank you Tom.

The inscription is taken from the poem, An inscription on the Painting of Mi Fu Bowing to a rock, by the Yuan master Ni Zan, and may be translated, 'Mi Fu loves inkstones and hence loves rocks; who becomes obsessed in searching for beautiful and rare pieces. He paints a work portraying himself before a rock calling it "big brother"; the reputation of his eccentricity is indeed well deserved.'

Best,
YT
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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2021, 08:53:18 am »

Mi Fu is one of my favourite characters from Chinese history...!
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George
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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2021, 10:42:28 am »

Thank you for sharing this really amazing bottle, wonderful provenance and description YT.

If the bottle needed a name, "Elder Brother Rock" would sure seem fitting Smiley  The story of Mi Fu at Stone Worship is especially interesting and to be able and connect that to your bottle carving is extra special. The script is beautiful !

Congratulations YT Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2021, 09:26:53 pm »

Dear Tom,

I have attached a White Jade pendant and it's link https://www.christies.com/lot/lot-a-white-jade-shaped-rectangular-pendant-plaque-5720122/?from=salesummary&intObjectID=5720122&lid=1&ldp_breadcrumb=back
This pendant has the exact Mi Fu subject and the full poem.

Dear George,

"Elder Brother Rock - 石兄" does sound very fitting  Grin
Thank you.

Best,
YT


* Christies MiFu Pendant.jpg (101.46 KB, 963x737 - viewed 11 times.)
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« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2021, 09:45:32 pm »

Thanks for the link YT.

A pricey pendant...!  Shocked

Best,
Tom
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« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2021, 11:49:53 pm »

Your jade bottle is much nicer than this Christies agate bottle that lacks any provenance, described as being Suzhou carved. Has anyone suggested your bottle could be Suzhou carved ?

https://www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-5595962

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« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2021, 07:32:27 am »

Hi George,

All of these bottles, including the others illustrated on the cover of the JICSBS, exhibit certain characteristics that collectors have long associated with Suzhou carving.
Of course, in most cases it is not possible to prove that a particular bottle was actually carved there, so, except where an inscription confirms it, "Suzhou style" may be a safer term to use. 

Best,
Tom

Hi YT,
I always wondered who was behind the Ng Collection. Thanks for the heads up!
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« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2021, 08:31:49 am »

Dear George,

I'm not particularly concerned about this Suzhou terminology. We are collectors and so we collect bottles that we liked. Not by buying because they are 'branded' bottles.

In this group, I was drawn to the three dimensional carvings. Very fine carved details right down to the smallest object. And the carvers' superb experience by making use of the fine colour differentiation to portray the subjects.

Dear Tom,

Our Ng Collection is a new kid in the block as we started collecting Snuff Bottles only in 2013.
Got to be discrete  Tongue

Cheers,
YT
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« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2021, 10:38:05 am »

That is breathtakingly beautiful. What wonderful artistry. Thank you so much for sharing it.
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« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2021, 04:57:00 pm »

Dear YT, what a marvellous, fine bottle! I like it very much.
Thank you for showing it and for all the related story.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2021, 09:31:45 pm »

Thank you Ileney and Giovanni.

This will be a nice tribute to Joe whom I had gotten to know and respect. His love for collecting only the best Snuff bottles are renowned.

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richy88
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« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2021, 03:31:52 am »

Hi Kelvin

Thanks for posting this wonderful bottle!

Mi Fu, of northern Song dynasty was well known for his love for stones and inkstones. At the same time, he was also a famous calligrapher, one of the top four during his time. His unique painting style, resembling the French impressionist's style also became a school followed by many after his era. (see attached sample)

The poem where the inscription was extracted was written by Ni Zan of the Yuan dynasty on a painting depicting Mi Fu bowing to a big garden rock.

Regards.


Richard


* Mi Fu.jpg (107.87 KB, 525x740 - viewed 7 times.)
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Richard from sunny Singapore
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Joey
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« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2021, 08:38:32 pm »

YT,

 Magnificent bottle and magnificent plaque.
And a Ladislas Kardos and then Joe Grinberg provenance  is very impressive.
Two of the great collectors of the 1960s to 2000s.
Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

YT
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« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2021, 03:07:54 am »

Thank you dear Richard and Joey.

It is not easy to correctly associate the subject to the right bottle and thus my delay in posting the next one.

Best,
YT
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