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Chinese Snuff Bottle Discussion Forum 中國鼻煙壺討論論壇
January 29, 2023, 12:30:10 am
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Need your help, silhouette agate or glass?

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Author Topic: Need your help, silhouette agate or glass?  (Read 1658 times)
Solid_Snake
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« on: May 19, 2022, 11:04:35 am »

Hello everybody
I would like bid on this bottle, I've asked for photos and I've got these, I don't know if its agate stone or glass imitation... I think the cap is glued.
What do you think
Thank you!


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Fiveroosters aka clayandbrush
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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2022, 01:42:42 pm »

Hello “Serpent solide” 😊😊 (sorry I don’t remember your name, except that you are French) the bottle is surely agate, and, in my opinion, not an old one (the bottle😊).
Kind regards
Giovanni
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Wattana
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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2022, 09:39:39 pm »

Defiitely agate. Probably mid to late 19th century.

Tom

[added later: this stone is more correctly described as 'chalcedony']
« Last Edit: May 20, 2022, 01:06:54 am by Wattana » Report Spam   Logged

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Solid_Snake
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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2022, 11:42:31 pm »

Thank you guys.
I wonder if the dark traces at the level of the bats and double gourd are traces of friction (to draw the elements) and therefore I cannot consider this bottle as "silhouette" but just as "carved".

Best
Thomas
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YT
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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2022, 12:19:37 am »

Dear Thomas,

Will be great if you can ask for the height without the stopper.

Agreed with Tom and Giovanni on the Agate.

You can call this type as Carved Chalcedony, Carved Agate or even Shadow Agate.

I have attached one of my bottle which I bidded from Bonhams. For your comparison.
https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/23922/lot/9026/

Cheers,
YT


* 655 JPEG.jpg (140.83 KB, 531x700 - viewed 16 times.)
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George
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2022, 03:37:12 am »

Thank you guys.
I wonder if the dark traces at the level of the bats and double gourd are traces of friction (to draw the elements) and therefore I cannot consider this bottle as "silhouette" but just as "carved".

Best
Thomas

I think it is ok to label this one as a shadow agate. Some carved bottles like this the carver uses a technique called "chasing the inclusions" resulting in a sunken in surface. I much prefer when the carver shows his excellent eye being able to use the inclusions as they are without having to carve into the surface to get motifs.

Great bottle and I think Tom is spot on dating it to late 19th.
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Solid_Snake
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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2022, 08:18:45 am »

Thank you for these informations and comments. Very helpful.

The bottle size is 7cm including all inclusive, the top is glued...

Very nice bottle YT I love it
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Fiveroosters aka clayandbrush
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2022, 09:51:09 am »

Dear all,
Although the pictures are blurred (out of focus), I think that this bottle is not old. Look especially at the flat area of the foot, it has the typical “waved” finish that is seen on modern glass and stone bottles.
Dear Thomas, which is the material of the stopper, stone or coral? If it is stone, you could leave the bottle upside down in acetone. It will be interesting to see the type of spoon.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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YT
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« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2022, 07:04:11 pm »



Very nice bottle YT I love it

Thamks Thomas.

If the stopper is roughly 1cm, then bottle will be about 6cm. That is quite a good size for old bottles.

Cheers,
YT
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Solid_Snake
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« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2022, 10:53:44 am »

That's crazy the bottle just sold 1950euros including premium fees.... Crazy.
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Wattana
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« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2022, 10:35:40 pm »

I don't know which auction that was. But if you are interested in this type of bottle you can find better and with lower price at some high end auctions. Bidders appear to be more interested in other types (glass, jade, porcelain), and the silhouette agates often sell for less than the low estimate.
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Solid_Snake
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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2022, 12:05:10 am »

At French auction house, my bid for this bottle was 150 euros no more lol
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Wattana
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« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2022, 10:17:47 pm »

At French auction house, my bid for this bottle was 150 euros no more lol

In that case, you are hoping for miracles !   Grin  Grin  Grin
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Wattana
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« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2022, 02:11:03 am »


I think it is ok to label this one as a shadow agate. Some carved bottles like this the carver uses a technique called "chasing the inclusions" resulting in a sunken in surface. I much prefer when the carver shows his excellent eye being able to use the inclusions as they are without having to carve into the surface to get motifs.


The terms 'silhouette' and 'cameo' sometimes get confused.

Cameo refers to carving where the decoration is almost entirely created ABOVE the general profile of the bottle, usually utilizing a natural 'skin' on the stone's surface.
It can be equated to the overlay technique seen on glass bottles. The first photo below is a good example of a cameo agate (cameo chalcedony).

As George correctly says, 'silhouette' agate (silhouette chalcedony) is a far more subtle technique, where the carver minimally 'edits' the natural inclusions to bring out the picture in his mind's eye. The second image shows the characteristics to be found on fine old bottles.

Occasionally the 'picture' appears without needing any editing at all. The last example falls into this category - a true 'inkplay', open to interpretation by the viewer.   


* Q091 (2) 600W.jpg (52.16 KB, 800x600 - viewed 10 times.)

* Silhouette agate_01.jpg (61.11 KB, 693x593 - viewed 13 times.)

* Q_11 600W.jpg (39.5 KB, 600x713 - viewed 13 times.)
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« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2022, 03:40:10 am »

Bravo Tom, well explained, well illustrated. Thank you.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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Wattana
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« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2022, 05:33:49 am »

Thank you Giovanni!

While we are on this topic I should add one more type of carving seen on stone snuff bottles.
That is the 'intaglio' type, where most if not all of the carving is sunk below the general profile line of the bottle's surface.

With very few exceptions these bottles are modern production made using high speed carving tools. That is to say they date from around 1980 onwards.

Below is a good example. 


* Intaglio_1.jpg (513.65 KB, 661x884 - viewed 12 times.)

* Intaglio_2.jpg (468.96 KB, 661x456 - viewed 11 times.)
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« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2022, 03:40:11 am »

Dear Tom,

Thank you for illustrating the different techniques.

I am posting one that was unedited yet the picture can easily be understood.
https://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2014/snuff-bottles-hk0519/lot.1097.html

Best wishes,
YT


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Wattana
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« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2022, 04:31:15 am »

Thanks YT,

That's one of the finer examples, which has passed trough the hands of a few well known collectors.

Best,
Tom
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« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2022, 08:05:22 am »

Thanks, one of my favourite.

YT
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bambooforrest
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« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2022, 10:43:54 am »

Dear YT, a true masterpiece! One of my favorites with no editing on the surface....John


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John O'Hara

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