Tang Ying porcelain from set of moonflasks.
Lot 27Y
A 'famille-rose' porcelain moonflask 'landscape' snuff bottle Attributed to Tang Ying, Imperial kilns, Jingdezhen, Qianlong iron-red seal mark and of the period, 1736–1756
Sold for HK$ 3,960,000 (US$ 510,962) inc. premium
Lot Details
A 'famille-rose' porcelain moonflask 'landscape' snuff bottle
Attributed to Tang Ying, Imperial kilns, Jingdezhen, Qianlong iron-red seal mark and of the period, 1736–1756
5.08cm high (original ivory stopper and spoon).

Footnotes

  • Treasury 6, no. 1149

    瓷胎月琴山水鼻煙壺
    推定為唐英作,景德鎮,鐵紅乾隆年款,1736~1756

    Southern Moon-Flask

    Famille rose enamels on colourless glaze on porcelain; with a convex lip and recessed flat foot surrounded by a protruding flattened footrim; the slightly convex circular panel on each main side painted with waterside landscape scenes, one a winter scene in which two scholars, one holding a walking staff, cross a bridge towards a house beneath pines, a view through the window revealing a volume of books set on a desk inside, with a distant open pavilion on the far bank of the river beyond, the other a spring scene in which a scholar, also with a walking staff, crosses a bridge towards a fenced dwelling beneath trees, with paddy fields in the distance; the panels surrounded by a diaper design of interlocking fylfots (wan symbols); the neck with a band of acanthus leaves; the foot inscribed in iron-red seal script Qianlong nian zhi (Made during the Qianlong period); the lip, inside of the neck, and footrim all painted gold; the interior glazed
    Attributed to Tang Ying, imperial kilns, Jingdezhen, 1736–1756
    Height: 5.08 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.70/1.09
    Stoppers: ivory; original
    Condition: perfect condition, very close to kiln condition, with only minor wear to some of the gold enamel on the narrow sides; even the gilding of foot and lip remains intact. General relative condition: outstanding. Original ivory stopper, cork, and spoon also perfect


    Provenance:
    Robert Hall (1995)

    Published:
    Hall 1995, no. 1
    Robert Hall, business Christmas card, 1995
    JICSBS, Winter 1995, p. 1
    Robert Hall, business brochure, undated
    Sin, Hui, and Kwong 1996, no. 95
    Treasury 6, no. 1149
    JICSBS, Spring 2009, p. 9, fig. 9
    Exhibited:
    The Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong, October 1996

    Commentary
    It was once generally believed that the production of porcelain snuff bottles did not begin significantly until the second half of the Qianlong period. Early-Qianlong enamelled porcelain snuff bottles were extremely rare and, until very recently, few of them had been published. However, with the recent publication of several early bottles associated with Tang Ying, who directed the imperial kilns at Jingdezhen during the early Qianlong period, and recent access to the imperial Archives concerning the manufacture of works of art, we now have a clearer picture of porcelain snuff-bottle production.

    This bottle is part of a series of the same form and colour scheme but with different landscape panels, each with one or more scholars in evidence. Six are known in addition to this one, and another in the Bloch Collection (Treasury 6, no. 1148), making eight in all. They are published in Geng Baochang and Zhao Binghua 1992, no. 137 (also in JICSBS, Spring 2006, p. 4, fig. 3); Lam 2003, p. 8, figs. 3a-c; Sotheby's, New York, 23 March 1998, lot 79, (also in JICSBS, Autumn 1998, p. 24, fig. 2, a pair now in the Crane Collection); and a pair in Drouot, Millon-Jutheau, Paris, 2 February 1983.

    From the condition of the ivory spoons, the silk binding of the cork, and the enamels, it is obvious that the Bloch examples were barely used before becoming treasured collector's items, and they probably resided in the imperial collection for some long time before leaking onto the market, most likely between 1860 and 1924. The fact that the delicate original stoppers, ivory spoons, and integral corks (wrapped around with imperial yellow silk to provide a tight fit) have survived is another indication that the bottles are probably from the imperial collection and were not distributed by the court t the time.

    We know from the records that the emperor instructed Tang Ying not to make stoppers for the fifty porcelain snuff bottles he required each year (see Chronological List in Treasury 6, for 1744, third month, sixteenth day). Thus, Tang Ying bottles from the early Qianlong reign were stoppered only after they arrived at the court; even though several, including the Bloch examples, have what appear to be original stoppers, none of the surviving examples has porcelain stoppers. Another of Tang Ying's likely products (in the Philadelphia Museum of Art Collection) has a similar, original ivory stopper. It is part of another series of bottles with poems and seals mentioned under Treasury 6, no. 1150. This suggests that what we see here was a standard type. We have in the past referred to this type of stopper as an 'official's-hat' stopper, but here it can be seen to resemble the emperor's more elaborate formal hats, a far more likely source of inspiration on imperial snuff bottles. An extraordinary original stopper on a unique Yongzheng enamelled-metal snuff bottle in the Marakovic Collection (China Guardian, 21 October 1996, lot 1879; also JICSBS, Spring 2004, front cover, centre) is based on the emperor's hat, complete with a real pearl finial. It is, no doubt, an early and more realistic prototype of the standard later form with its simplified, smaller finial and integral collar. The ivory version which appears on some Tang Ying bottles, including this one, are of the earlier type, with their more prominent finials.

    To what extent these bottles were made as a set, or as significant groups of two, four, six, eight, or however many, is not clear. Although the scenes here may have been intended to represent the four seasons, the only apparent connection between the sixteen different scenes on the eight known bottles is the predominance of scholars in landscape.

    The construction of these bottles is interesting and may throw some light on the early range of bottles supervised by Tang Ying. They are constructed in the standard Qing-dynasty way of making a moon flask, by luting two moulded halves together vertically along the narrow sides. (The earlier, Ming method for moon flasks — snuff bottles did not exist then — was to lute two sections horizontally). The bulging strip of slip porcelain that was used to lute them together remains clearly visible on the inside, although the outside has been smoothed off to conceal the join. In this case, however, a rare departure for the snuff-bottle world is seen in the treatment of the foot, made separately and luted onto an oval hole left in the original two-part mould for the main body. This leaves an oval recession inside where the hollow foot is affixed to the body. This distinctive feature is also found on Treasury 6, no. 1150, also attributed to Tang Ying's supervision, and on all of the other early bottles likely to have been made under his watchful eye that we have been able to handle so far.

    The formal quality of this group of early-Qianlong porcelain snuff bottles and the standard of the painting and enamelling are extraordinary. The scenes are each individually composed and exquisitely painted. Since its identification, this early group of imperial porcelain snuff bottles has been widely admired and has appropriately drawn a great deal of attention from collectors. They are far harder to find than imperial enamels on metal produced at the palace workshops contemporaneously, and they are as rare as palace enamelled glass bottles of the early Qianlong period, perhaps even rarer.

    The involvement of Tang Ying personally in this series of bottles is discussed under Treasury 6, no. 1150, and is also the subject of an article: Moss 2009. Although we have left open the possibility of this group of bottles dating from later in Tang's career, they may well date from as early as the 1740s.

    江南夏秋景月琴形煙壺

    瓷胎,無色釉上施粉彩;凸面唇、平斂足、突出平底圈足;腹兩面雷紋開光彩繪江南山水,其一為溪橋上二人向松下書屋走來的雪景,其一為溪畔野屋,一人策杖行橋上的春景,兩側繪金彩卍字變紋,頸部有金彩蕉葉紋;底礬紅書"乾隆年製"四字篆款;唇、頸內、圈足皆描金,壺內亦施釉

    推定為唐英作,景德鎮官窯,1736~1756
    高:5.085 厘米
    口經/唇經:0.70/1.09 厘米
    蓋:象牙;原件
    狀態敘述:完善;近乎出窯狀態,只有兩側金彩稍微磨損,連口沿和圈足描金保留得很完好;一般相對的狀態:優秀;原配蓋、塞、匙皆完善

    來源:
    羅伯特.霍爾 (1995)
    文獻:
    Robert Hall 1995, 編號1
    羅伯特.霍爾, 商務聖誕卡, 1995年
    《國際中國鼻煙壺協會的學術期刊》Journal of the International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society 1995冬期,頁1
    羅伯特.霍爾, 商務冊子,未注明年月日
    冼祖謙、許建勳、鄺溥銘 1996,編號 95
    Treasury 6, 編號 1149
    《國際中國鼻煙壺協會的學術期刊》Journal of the International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society 2009春期,頁9,圖9

    展覽:
    徐氏藝術館,香港,1996年10 月17日~11月15日

    說明:
    以前,很多人認同陶瓷鼻煙壺到了乾隆時期後半才有值得主意的產量。早期的陶瓷鼻煙壺並不多,文獻中所見的更少。而最近發表了幾件可以跟唐英聯繫的煙壺,清朝有關工藝品出產的檔案也陸續發表了,這都有助於理解陶瓷鼻煙壺的出產情況。

    本壺以山水中的文人逸士為開光畫題,以此形式和色彩設計相同者,已知的有七件,包括伯樂珍藏還有一件,Treasury 6編號1148。也有耿寶昌、趙炳驊,《中國鼻煙壺珍賞》, 編號137 (亦發表於《國際中國鼻煙壺協會的學術期刊》Journal of the International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society, 2006春期,頁4,圖3);林業强 2003, 頁8,圖3a~3c;蘇富比,紐約,1998年3 月23日,拍賣品號79(亦發表於《國際中國鼻煙壺協會的學術期刊》Journal of the International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society, 1998秋期,頁24,圖2,兩件,今為Crane 珍藏所收); 和Druout, Millon-Jutheau, 巴黎,1983年2月2日,兩件。

    看伯樂珍藏編號1148、1149兩件的牙匙、裹塞絲綢、琺瑯等的狀況,它們明顯是幾乎沒有人用過就當成珍貴的收藏品物,大概一直到大約1860至1924年間偷偷摸摸地來到市場的時候都安放在紫禁城珍藏中。因為易碎的蓋、牙匙、以黃色絲綢裹得能塞緊的塞都保存下來,我們能推定這兩件煙壺從未頒賜過,製成以後都留在皇家珍藏中。

    《造辦處各作成做活計檔案》載:"乾隆九年三月十六日,唐英將造燒的洋彩錦上添花各式鼻煙壺四十件,持進交太監胡世傑進呈,奉旨:嗣後鼻煙壺每年只燒五十,著其中不要大了,亦不要小了,其鼻煙壺蓋不必燒來"(張榮2008,頁13引)。據此知道乾隆早期的瓷煙壺到了北京以後才安裝蓋,雖然本壺和其他的幾件都帶原件的蓋,果然沒有一件是瓷製的。費城藝術博物館藏的一件可推定為唐英指揮下作的煙壺帶有類似的原件牙蓋, 好像這是一種標準型式。(費城的煙壺屬於一系列題詩帶款的煙壺,請參閱Treasury 6, 編號 1150下的論述。)我們以前把這種蓋叫做"官帽蓋",但是本件也許更像皇帝的朝冠,非賜品的宮廷用器帶樣式比較壯偉的蓋,也是合乎情理的。Marakovic珍藏中有帶特殊原件蓋的雍正銅胎琺瑯彩煙壺(中國嘉德國際拍賣有限公司,1996年10月21日,拍賣品號1879; 《國際中國鼻煙壺協會的學術期刊》Journal of the International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society, 2004春期,封面),那件蓋以皇帝的冠冕為模型,連珍珠頂都有。它無疑是早期而比較逼真的原型,後來的尖頂飾是簡化的、較小。本壺和其他一些唐英作的煙壺所帶頂飾較突出的蓋則是早期的式樣。

    這些煙壺是不是一套或幾套的,一套有多少煙壺,是不是每套是二件壺上繪製四季圖景的,都不清楚。我們只能說,大多數的圖象都描繪著文人雅士的幽隱情趣。

    這系列煙壺的工藝很有意思,也有助理解早期的唐窯。用的是清朝典型的月琴形煙壺製作法,即把以模子成型的前後兩塊坯子拼接。(明代月琴形器的製作法是把成型的上下兩塊拼接,當時這種煙壺並不存在,且不討論。)壺內側壁可見有一帶粘接的瓷漿。背離煙壺工藝常規的是足的處理。足是另一部件,底部留了一個洞,足就被黏上去了,壺內足體黏合的地方有椰圓形的凹痕。上舉Treasury 6, 編號 1150以及到現在為止能夠查驗所有的早期唐窯也都具有同樣的凹痕。

    這系列乾隆早期的瓷鼻煙壺形式奇妙,繪圖和繪彩上都達到了特別高的水平。圖象的構圖富於變化,筆法精工,這系列煙壺被認定以後,一直受到了廣泛的贊賞,當然也為收藏家注視。它們比同時期作的金屬畫琺瑯鼻煙壺還難得一見,跟乾隆早期的玻璃畫琺瑯煙壺一樣稀罕,抑或更罕見。

    關於唐英躬自指揮和參入這系列琺瑯煙壺的燒造事宜,可參閱Treasury 6 編號1150的論述和 Moss 2009。 這系列煙壺可能是唐窯後期的製品,但也可能是乾隆4年到14年那麼早的製品。
Auction information

This sale is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future sales, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this sale, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first HKD800,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from HKD800,001 to HKD1,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12% on the excess over HKD1,000,000 of the Hammer Price.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Lot symbols
Y CITES

Subject to CITES regulations when exporting items outside of the EU, see clause 13.