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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"
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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
December 01, 2021, 12:57:34 am
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Agate with Monkey and Wasp Design

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Author Topic: Agate with Monkey and Wasp Design  (Read 128 times)
rpfstoneman
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« on: September 06, 2021, 12:25:20 am »


All, another bottle I picked up from Clare Chu over the 4th of July.

Carved Agate Snuff Bottle:
A carved botryoidal agate bottle, very well hollowed; of squared form with rounded shoulders and a cylindrical neck and a neatly carved oval foot rim, the sides with mock mask and ring handles; a pale-gray and creamy colored stone with dark brown inclusions, carved in low relief on one main side with a monkey crouched under an overhanging tree, poking a stick into a wasp’s nest with a wasp flying above him; stone inclusions incorporated into the design as the wasp nest, the stick, and as partial outlines of the tree trunk; the reverse uncarved but with a small silhouette (using the imagination) of a single wasp flying within pillowy cloud-like rings. The carver chased this minor inclusion on the back side ever so slightly to create an almost imperceivable dimple in the stone that allows the thumb to perceive and slide into while passing the bottle.

Bottle fitted with a glass imitating coral cabochon stopper with a black onyx collar.  Height is 6.0 cm by 5.3 cm wide by 2.3 cm on the side, and 50.1 g, without stopper.  Spoon broken out and has been removed.

Period: ca. 19th century. 

Condition: Near pristine.  Minute abrasions on larger flat surfaces from use.   
 
Provenance:  Clare Chu Asian Art LLC.
                      Mary Morrison, Vancouver, Canada, and thence by descent.

Enjoy, Charll


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

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Wattana
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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2021, 12:53:31 am »

Charll,

Another very appealing chalcedony bottle.
The wasp or bee on the reverse side is a nice touch.

Tom
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Joey
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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2021, 07:31:58 pm »

Dear Charll,

    A very pleasing Agate, as Tom pointed out.
Re.Mrs. Mary Morrison z"l, a retired school teacher,
her abode was in Port Washington, North Pender Island, BC, Canada.
Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

rpfstoneman
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2021, 09:24:34 pm »


All,

When I saw the bottle at a recent Galerie Zacke auction I had to try to acquire it.  Old, new, it did not matter.  It nicely incorporates uniquely three elements of etching, cameo, and silhouette into the features of the design.  Fortunately, I was able to acquire it at what I think was a very reasonable price.
 

Silhouette-Cameo Agate Snuff Bottle:
Combination silhouette, cameo, and etched agate of rounded square form, with a broad oval foot and short cylindrical neck with a slightly concave top.  Well hollowed.  Carved to one side in relief is a tree truck and a monkey seated beneath a tree (silhouette element) looking back over his shoulder at a lone wasp incised into the stone on the other side of the tree, a cloth bound seal hanging from a branch directly above the monkey, all skillfully utilizing the russet and grayish-white shadings in the translucent creamy-ochre stone.  The versa is unadorned

Bottle fitted with a carved green glass coiled chilong stopper with a thick ruddy orange nylon collar.  Height is 5.8 cm by 4.8 cm wide by 2.5 cm on the side, and 57.3 g, without stopper.

The rebus for the homophonic combination of the monkey (hou), wasp (feng), and seal (yin) hanging from a branch of a tree is “May high rank (marquis) be conferred upon you, and may you be given the seal of office (fenghou guayin)”.  The tree serves as a compositional devise that ties the monkey and wasp together pictorially and provides a branch on which to hang the bundle containing the seal of office.  Hanging the seal symbolizes advancement in officialdom.  (Source: 5.20.1 and 5.21.5, Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art, Terese Tes Bartholomew, 2006). 

Period: purported to be ca. 1750-1850, but may be as late as 20th century.

Condition: Excellent, with little perceived wear.  Minor nibble along outer foot rim.  Bottle came with fresh cork plug, but no spoon.

Provenance:  Gallerie Zacke, Fine Chinese Art, Buddhism & Hinduism – Day 1, Oct 15, 2021, Lot 0307.    
                      From a private collection in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Any comments and/or corrections to my cataloging description are desired and welcomed.  Enjoy, Charll



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

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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2021, 09:37:37 pm »

Charll,

Congratulations. Another of your recent agate acquisitions that would slip easily into my pocket!  Cool

I would myself probably date the bottle to 1800-1880. It does not look like a product of the 20th century.

I often look at Zacke's offerings, but find some of their lot descriptions a little 'ambitious'.
I'm also slightly nervous about shipping items out of Austria. Have you found their after sales service to be OK?

Best,
Tom
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rpfstoneman
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« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2021, 01:25:58 am »

Tom,

Zacke's accommodated my bidding and purchase with a great deal of ease.  They offered to pack and ship the snuff bottle(s) at a reasonable price.  They provided good documentation as to the content of the shipment and it a arrived in short order.  However, by random chance or it being shipped from Austria this was the first time a package was held up by customs.  Had to pay an additional fee to DHL (for I had to fill out additional forms certifying the contents were over 100 years old) to walk the process to get the package through customs.

A number of their auction bottles are from other antique dealers, ebay, and other minor auction houses.  For a number of the bottles that show up in their auction I had seen before and was actually bidding against Zacke's to acquire them from the other named sources.  They purchase items, do a nice job of providing further background descriptions on the items (though sometimes they are wrong) and provided past auction sale comparisons to represent the item to be of a higher value.  Sometimes this works out well, and sometimes not, but their minimum acceptable bid to avoid a 'Pass' on an item appears to be at least a couple hundred dollars above their purchase amount.  They seem to try to turn over these purchase items within 6-months to a year of their purchase.  I can not say this is done in whole on their snuff bottle auction inventory, but I know it's done in at least part.  They appear to be more of a dealer in a more formalized eBay style, by purchasing inventory, processing it with descriptions, and putting up their purchase inventory for auction. 

This has just been my observation with bottles I've bid on at Zacke's auctions.  Charll

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

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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2021, 03:14:52 am »

Dear Charll,

    The bottle is very pleasing.
I had a bad experience with Zacke in the early 1990s, and have never gone back.
They sold me 2 IPSBs for a fair price, the packing and shipping were fine, I paid immediately [via bank transfer from our business in Toronto], and never got the bottles!
And then it took 6-8 months of threatening letters [by the young lady who takes care of my stuff in our family office], till they returned the funds.
Best,
Joey
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« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2021, 05:03:27 pm »

Dear all,
I do not know about snuff bottles, but in the porcelain field it is known that it is better to be cautious in buying from this auction company, because it is a fact that they sell either genuine and fake porcelains.
Giovanni
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« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2021, 10:20:45 pm »

Dear Giovanni,

   You DO know about snuff bottles.
I think you meant that in regard to snuff bottles and Zacke, you have no experience.
Best,
Joey
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« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2021, 01:26:57 am »

Exactly Grin
Precision is always good.
Thank you dear Joey.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2021, 03:22:24 am »

Dear Charll,

The story of your Agate bottle should be similar to this Jade bottle that I posted.
https://snuffbottle.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,3069.0/msg,42662.html

The monkey is trying to open the money pouch.

Cheers,
YT


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« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2021, 05:17:11 pm »

I just want to chime in and comment on what a wonderful bottle this is Charll !
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« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2021, 03:19:11 am »

Beautiful bottle Charll - congratulations!
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« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2021, 07:31:28 am »

Beautiful bottle, YT.
Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver, collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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