A nephrite pebble-material snuff bottle 1720-1850
Lot 1
A nephrite pebble-material snuff bottle 1720-1850
Sold for HK$ 114,000 (US$ 14,701) inc. premium
Lot Details
A nephrite pebble-material snuff bottle
5.7cm high.


  • Treasury 1, no. 8


    Nephrite of pebble material; very well hollowed with a recessed foot
    Height: 5.7 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.71/1.60 cm
    Stopper: stained chalcedony; silver collar

    Condition: Possible ground out tiny chip in outer lip where skin is, so it might just be a softer spot and part of the process of manufacture. Otherwise, workshop condition

    Edmund F. Dwyer
    Christie's, London, 12 October 1987, lot 227

    Kleiner 1995, no. 70
    Treasury 1, no. 8

    British Museum, June–October 1995

    This bottle stands almost exactly between two extremes that make up the normal range of plain bottles carved from nephrite pebbles. The first group includes rather formal bottles that usually have only one irregular face to allow for the maximum use of skin colour. These all have a foot, although it is sometimes also irregular on one side to match the skin surface. The other extreme consists of bottles that were not meant to stand and have no defined neck or foot. They are usually made using most of a small pebble with only minor editing for formal ends. There are several of these in the imperial collection, even though the colour on many of them seems to have been either entirely contrived or enhanced artificially (Chang Lin-sheng 1991, nos. 113 (a set of ten), 129, 132, 159 (a set of ten), 163–165). This example has the irregular form of the latter group, but the neck and foot of the former.

    With its eccentric form, lovely skin colouring extensively spread across two sides of the bottle, superb hollowing, and soft polish, this is one of the great pebble bottles. The colouring is sumptuous and beautifully textured, and it even varies from one side to the other, the skin having quite different qualities of texture and colour. The colour here appears to be entirely natural, although we stress the difficulty in judging in many cases where natural skin is skillfully enhanced by additional colour. The natural colour of the skin seems to be revealed beyond question, however, in two places. At the neck, where the pebble is cut through to form the lip, the cross-section of the lip shows the depth to which the natural staining has sunk into the white stone, exactly matching the markings on the other side. Artificial colouring would not tend to sink so deeply and specifically into one area of the jade. At the foot, the carver has used the unusual technique of continuing the line of the receding face of the bottle onto the foot, which is chamfered to match. This gives the impression that the footrim was almost stolen out of the form on that side, and in the groove that forms the foot the paler colour deeper in the stone is revealed, again showing the depth to which the skin has affected the white jade and the naturalness of the pigmentation.

    閃玉卵石料; 掏膛非常規整,斂底
    高:5.7 厘米
    口經/唇經:0.71/1.60 厘米
    蓋:染色玉髓; 銀座


    Edmund F. Dwyer
    佳士得,倫敦,1987年10月12日,拍賣品號 227

    Kleiner 1995, 編號70
    Treasury 1, 編號8

    大英博物館, 倫敦, 1995年6月~10月

    閃玉卵石雕磨的無飾紋類鼻煙壺呈現一定的變化範圍,本壺就在其中間段。變化範圍的一端就是比較正規的型式,只有盡量地呈現卵石皮色的一面是不整齊的。它們都有足,儘管足的一邊因為皮面的關係也可能是不整齊的。另一端是無足、無頸而不豎立的鼻煙壺。它們一般是沿著原來的卵石外形而雕成的、規模較小的煙壺。皇家珍藏中有幾件這類的煙壺,只是多數具有人為的顏色或者增強的顏色 (張臨生1991,編號 113 (一套十件), 129, 132, 159 (一套十件), 163~165). 本件既具有後一類非正規的形式、也具有前一類的頸與足。

    看它不正規的形式、壺身兩面美好的皮色、卓越的掏膛、活潤的拋光等,本壺稱得上卵 石鼻煙壺精品之一。顏色是豪華的、肌理是悅目的,從不同的角度看,則變態百出。全天然的顏色和增強的顏色常常不容易辨別,但本壺的顏色似乎是全天然的。細察唇面和圈足切角的一面,可以看出,卵石皮的顏色深深地滲入白色玉料,不像人工的顏色。
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  2. Daniel Lam
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