Nephrite;  extremely well hollowed;  of  pure  white colour
Lot 19
A white nephrite 'trotting sow' snuff bottle 1730–1850
Sold for HK$ 900,000 (US$ 116,127) inc. premium
Lot Details
A white nephrite 'trotting sow' snuff bottle
1730–1850
sold with accompanying watercolour by Peter Suart
3.76cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 1, no. 43

    白玉小跑母豬鼻煙壺

    The Hallett Trotting Sow

    Nephrite; extremely well hollowed; carved in the form of a trotting sow
    1730–1850
    Length: 4.92 cm
    Height: 3.76 cm
    Mouth: 0.48 cm
    Stopper: coral, carved as a formalized bloom
    Condition: front right hoof probably recut a little to remove chip; not obtrusive; otherwise, workshop condition


    Illustration: watercolour by Peter Suart

    Provenance:
    Hugh Moss
    Paula J. Hallett (1986)
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd. (1986)
    Published:
    Snuff Bottles of the Ch'ing Dynasty, no. 158
    Kleiner 1987, no. 56
    Kleiner 1995, no. 88
    JICSBS, Spring 1995, p. 16
    Treasury 1, no. 43
    Exhibited:
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd., London, September 1974
    Hong Kong Museum of Art, October–December 1978
    Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987
    Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993
    British Museum, June–October 1995

    Commentary
    This is one of the group of animal snuff bottles discussed in Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993 under nos. 1–5, where other examples are cited together with their relationship to a similar series of amber animal-form bottles, some of which, at least, appear to be from
    the same school (see ibid., no. 288 for a bear very similar to the jade example no. 1, and to no. 42 in this collection). Of the animal forms, the pig is among the more popular, if we include the amber examples as part of the group (see Sydney L. Moss 1965, p. 36, no. 126, also illustrated in Chinese Snuff Bottles No. 2, back cover; Stevens 1976, no. 709, and Christie's, New York, 3 December 1993, lot 376), although these are not as closely associated with the jade examples as the bear, and may be linked more by subject-matter than by style. For other jade examples, see Moss, 1971a, no. 33; Hamilton 1977, p. 34, J–59, an unusual example in grey jade; Christie's, London, 12 October 1987, lot 342, and Sotheby's London, 3 February 1981, lot 179. Rabbits are also known in white nephrite, but usually of a less confident sculptural style and quality, although there is one which seems to come up to the standards of the broader group and may be a transitional piece suggesting that the rabbit occurred to animal-form carvers as a subject only as the art form was going into decline (see Sotheby's, London, 6 June 1988, lot 67). Horses are also known which appear to be from the group (see, for instance, a sculpturally bizarre example, Sotheby's, London, 24 April, 1989, subsequently offered by Butterfield and Butterfield, San Francisco, 19 March 1991, lot 663).

    This is one of the finest of the jade pigs, in a class with the very best of the series of white jade animal-form bottles which includes the bear in this collection. It is the chubbiest, best carved and most animated of them all. It is also linked to the two bears mentioned above by the choice of material, exquisite carving, polish and extremely fine hollowing. Where they were made remains a mystery.

    If the image was intended to represent pigs in general, it may be associated with symbolism representing the successful scholar. Starting from the Tang dynasty, successful candidates of the final civil service examination enjoyed the honour of having their names inscribed on the wall of the Wild Goose Pagoda (Yan Ta) in Ci'en Si (Monastery of Compassion) at the capital, Chang'an. Later, the phrase Yan Ta timing (having one's name inscribed on Yan Ta) became a metaphor for gaining the highest scholastic achievement. In later times there developed another practice. The name of the successful candidate who received the highest government office would be inscribed in red (zhu). Gradually people made use of linguistic punning to express felicitous wishes for the candidates about to take part in the civil service examinations. They would give braised pig (zhu) feet (ti) to these scholars before they embarked on their journey to the capital. The delicacy itself would summon to the minds of the candidates the desire to have their names (ming) inscribed (ti) in red (zhu), forming a subtle allusion to the highest success. Replacing food, jade carvings of pigs also convey the same meaning (see Tsang 1995). If it is intended specifically as a sow, rather than a representation of pigs generally, then its symbolism refers to fertility.


    哈列梯氏之小跑母豬

    閃玉;掏膛極良,雕小跑母豬

    1730~1850
    長:4.92厘米
    高:3.76 厘米
    口經:0.48 厘米
    蓋:珊瑚,雕花蕾
    狀態敘述:前右腳大概刪掉了疵點,不引人注目;此外一般相對的狀況:作坊狀態

    來源:
    莫士撝
    寶拉.哈列梯 (Paula J. Hallett, 1986)
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd (Hong Kong, 1986)
    文獻:
    Snuff Bottles of the Ch'ing Dynasty, 編號158
    Kleiner 1987, 編號 56
    Kleiner 1995, 編號88
    《國際中國鼻煙壺協會的學術期刊》Journal of the International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society, 1995年春期,頁16
    Treasury 1, 編號 43
    展覽:
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd, 倫敦,1974年9 月
    香港藝術館,1978年10 月至12月
    Sydney L. Moss Ltd, 倫敦, 1987年10 月
    Creditanstalt, 維也納, 1993年5月至6月
    大英博物館,1995年6 月至10 月
    Israel Museum, 耶路撒冷, 1997年

    說明:
    關於獸形鼻煙壺,可參見Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, 編號1~5、288。軟玉獸形鼻煙壺和琥珀獸形鼻煙壺有時好像出於同一個雕刻流派;如果把軟玉、琥珀壺全部一起考慮,豬形壺就是最流行的畜形壺之一(參見Sydney L. Moss 1965, 頁35,編號126,也發表在Chinese Snuff Bottles 2, 封底、Stevens 1976, 編號709、佳士得,紐約,1993年12月3日,拍賣品號376)。就玉與琥珀兩種獸形煙壺來說,熊形者式樣比較近,豬形者好像是內容相同而作風變化比較多。別的玉例子發表在 Hugh Moss 1971a, 編號33、Hamilton 1977, 頁74, J–59 (非凡的青灰玉壺)、佳士得,倫敦,1987年10月12日,拍賣品號342、與蘇富比,倫敦, 1981年2 月3日,拍賣品號179。兔子形玉煙壺有是有,但往往是不成形的風格,質量不高。例外的是蘇富比,倫敦,1988年6月6日拍賣品號67;它比得上獸形玉壺的水平,好像是過渡期的產物,也許獸形壺趨於式微的時,雕師才把兔子當作主題。也有類屬同系列獸形壺的馬形壺。(可參見蘇富比,倫敦,1989年4月24日,然後伯德富,三蕃市,1991年3月19日,拍賣品號663,一件雕塑規格稀奇古怪的例子。)類屬

    這是玉豬煙壺最優秀者之一,牠圓圓胖胖,活潑潑的,雕刻得很精巧。上舉Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, 編號288 和 Treasury 1, 編號42的熊形煙壺在材料的選擇、雕刻的精緻,表面的光澤度、和掏膛極其優良,以上各方面都與本壺有顯然的共同性,可惜,其出產處不得而知也。

    豬形煙壺可能不過是某人要佩戴的相合生肖年的飾物,或是要讓人聯想到豬蹄即"朱題(金榜)"、"肥豬拱門"、"肥豬送實"、"'諸'事順利"等詞語。讀者可參閱Tsang 1995.
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