Partial pebble shaped skin jade
Lot 7
A nephrite pebble-material snuff bottle Possibly Imperial, perhaps palace workshops, Beijing, 1740–1840
Sold for HK$ 144,000 (US$ 18,579) inc. premium
Lot Details
A nephrite pebble-material snuff bottle
Possibly Imperial, perhaps palace workshops, Beijing, 1740–1840
6.86cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 1, no. 7


    閃玉卵石料鼻煙壺
    或為御製品,若然,亦或為宮廷作坊作,北京,1740~1840


    Two Faced

    Nephrite of pebble material; very well hollowed
    Possibly imperial, perhaps palace workshops, Beijing, 1740–1840
    Height: 6.86 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.90/1.75 and 1.73 cm (oval)
    Stopper: jadeite; incised bronze collar with traces of original gilding
    Condition: workshop condition

    Provenance:
    J.W.A. International (Boston, 1991)
    Published:
    Randal and Ju 1991, no. 47.
    Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 37
    Treasury 1, no. 7
    Exhibited:
    Hong Kong Museum of Art, March–June 1994
    National Museum, Singapore, November 1994–February 1995

    Commentary
    The Bloch collection, with its unusually rich concentration of pebble bottles of all sorts (see discussion under Treasury 1, no. 6), allows a detailed look at this rather neglected area. This example is extraordinary in a number of ways. The form lacks a foot, which is normal for pebble bottles where the shape is dictated entirely by the original pebble form, and yet it has a formal neck. The impression is of two bottles combined: a natural pebble shape and a formally perfect white nephrite. This is common to the group represented by Treasury 1, no. 9, but those usually have a formal foot to match the neck. The skin, which appears to be entirely natural, is cut very precisely, probably from a pebble quite a bit larger than the bottle, creating an even, beautifully coloured and textured area covering almost all of one main and one narrow side.

    The combination of pure white pebble-nephrite with its own skin, or an artificially-stained skin, was a popular one for the snuff bottle connoisseur of old, and for obvious reasons. Other examples in this collection are Treasury 1, nos. 8 and 9 and the combination is seldom less than delightful. Here the colour combination and the precise separation between the two colours create a powerful abstract element in the design. The bottle is as pleasant in the hand as any known bottle, but the formality of the neck, which would be more typical as the upper area of a standing sculptural form, prevents it from lying comfortably, as most pebble bottles do, flat on a table. The obvious intention was for it to live perhaps in a pouch, and be seen only in the hand. As a collector's piece, however, it is one of the few bottles without a foot which might be improved as sculpture by a sensitively matched stand of some kind.

    Apart from the known love of pebbles and pebble material at court, there are three features which suggest the possibility of this being an imperial bottle made at the palace workshops. It has a wide mouth, a distinct, flat upper neck-rim, and it is hollowed very well leaving a relatively deep foot area (0.68 cm deep — see discussion under Treasury 1, no. 75). It is strange enough in any case to have a neck on a bottle of this type, but in adding one it would seem improbable that a centre other than the palace workshops would have chosen to put such a distinctly palace neck onto the form. A similar bottle of pebble form with a neck, tentatively attributed to Suzhou, is in the J & J Collection (Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, no. 42) but it is quite different and less formally correct. It is the sort of neck that might have been added to a standard pebble form at any production centre.

    Close examination of the surface to check for artificial colouring reveals an interesting phenomenon characteristic of pebble material. Because the surface is actually transformed by weathering rather than just chemically stained, its different layers have varying properties of hardness, creating a textured surface of duller areas of polish which resemble at first glance the dabs of artificial colour on simulated material of this type. The difference, however, is that on natural material the darker material is darker because it is very slightly thicker, being fractionally in relief above the paler areas. With stained material, however, the colour initially concentrates in the slightly recessed areas and the initially paler surface is worn still paler by handling over the years, reversing the effect.


    二氣合而萬物生

    閃玉卵石料,掏膛非常規整

    或為御製品,若然,亦或為宮廷作坊作,北京,1740~1840
    高:6.86 厘米
    口經/唇經:0.90/1.75 、1.73 厘米 (橢圓形)
    蓋:翡翠,青銅蓋座,有描金痕跡
    狀態敘述:作坊狀態

    來源:
    J.W.A. International (波士頓,1991)

    文獻:
    J.W.A. International 1991, 編號 47
    Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, 編號37
    Treasury 1, 編號 7
    展覽:
    香港藝術館,1994年3 月~6月
    National Museum of Singapore, 1994年11月~1995年2 月

    說明:
    伯樂珍藏收卵石料煙壺在數量方面和種類方面都超群絕倫,這麼豐富的收藏系列給我們提供了進一步了解這個比較冷門一點的煙壺類的機會。

    本壺跟一般用卵石的原形來決定作品的形狀的煙壺一樣,沒有足。它的特點在有頸:好像是天然卵石壺和正式的白玉壺兩種壺合并的樣子。有頸的卵石煙壺往往也有正式的足。這個煙壺在手裏摩玩,跟其他卵石壺一樣的適意,唯把它放在桌子上,天然卵石形的壺身當然躺得很舒適,而要直立的頸部卻顯得別扭。本壺本來是準備存放在口袋的,或時在手裏拿著玩賞或舀取煙粉,當收藏品,這是少數會得益於適宜的架子的無足煙壺之一。

    皮似乎是全天然的,是工匠刮削比本煙壺稍微大的卵石而造成了腹一面一側如此平均、美色的、粗面的玉皮。很多古時的鼻煙壺鋻賞家特別喜愛這種純白玉和玉皮的結合。本壺兩種顏色的對襯和清晰的界限產生了很悅目的抽象設計。

    在清廷,卵石形和卵石料的煙壺是很受歡迎的,本壺亦有三種特徵顯示它很可能是造辨處作的。一,侈口;二,折唇稜分明;三,壺膛校深,一直鑿到足部,有0.68厘米深。再者,在卵石形的煙壺上加這麼正式的頸,的確很特別,朝廷以外大概沒有作坊會想到附加如此宮廷式的頸。J & J Collection 收藏有相似的帶頸卵石形煙壺,我們試驗性地推測是蘇州作的 (Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, 編號42),可是它到底是另外一個方式,頸部不這麼端正,是任何一個雕刻中心可以附加在普遍的卵石形煙壺上的。

    我們為了檢查人工色彩,就仔細地觀察皮面而發現了卵石料很有意思的特徵。石皮是風雨融蝕的,因而不同階層硬度相異,皮面花花搭搭的,無光澤的地方像假料上塗抹的人工色彩。鑒定家要知道:天然石料顏色比較暗的地方是比較厚的,是凸起的。而染色劑的石料的情況是相反的:色劑起初聚集在凹處,而顏色本來淡的凸起的地方經過歲月的磨擦以後顏色就越來越淡。
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.

Similar items
Nephrite;  of pebble material;  pebble shape Nephrite;  well hollowed;  black and white;  compressed ovoid form, An inscribed white nephrite pebble-material snuff bottle Suzhou, 1680–1770 A white nephrite pebble-material 'silkmoth' snuff bottle 1720–1840 A white and russet nephrite pebblematerial 'carp and lotus-leaf' snuff bottle 1730–1840 A white nephrite pebble-material 'Mi Fu' snuff bottle Suzhou, 1700–1780