Lot Details
A stained walrus-ivory snuff bottle 1720–1850 A stained walrus-ivory snuff bottle 1720–1850 A stained walrus-ivory snuff bottle 1720–1850 A stained walrus-ivory snuff bottle 1720–1850 A stained walrus-ivory snuff bottle 1720–1850
A stained walrus-ivory snuff bottle
1720–1850
3.48cm high (including original stopper).

Footnotes

  • Treasury 7, no. 1561

    海象牙瓜形鼻煙壺

    Threaded Melon

    Walrus ivory and green stain; well hollowed, with a natural foot; carved in the form of a melon with twelve lobes
    1720–1850
    Mouth: 0.49 cm
    Height: 3.48 cm (including original stopper)
    Stopper: ivory, carved as a stalk, the end drilled through to a small hole in the top of the stopper for a cord, with integral cork; original

    Condition: apparent chip in the inner lip is in fact the point where the screw thread surfaces at the lip; usual wear from use, but otherwise in workshop condition

    Provenance:
    Robert Hall (1995)

    Published:
    Treasury 7, no. 1561

    Commentary:
    The small size, rare form, and lovely, unusually pale staining combine in this example with a well-handled surface patina to create one of the most delightful and rarest of all walrus-ivory snuff bottles. As an additional treat, it has retained its original stopper. The stopper matches the bottle perfectly. The inside of the neck is threaded for a screw; the original, integral ivory 'cork' has lost its threads through wear, however, and a very thin veneer of real cork has been added to compensate and create a secure fit. Another extraordinary departure from the norm is a tiny hole drilled into the first few millimetres of the end of the stopper and emerging through a small hole at the top to allow a cord to pass through. This may have been for no better reason than that it allowed a decorative cord or some other fitting to be added to the stopper.

    A tiny, elegant, and delicate bottle of this sort could have been made anywhere and almost at any time during snuff-bottle history, and if we were to find a reference to such a bottle in the Yongzheng records, it would be believable as from so early a period. There is evidence that this stained material was a northern and, therefore, almost certainly a Beijing speciality, and that it was produced at or for the court as early as the eighteenth century, so an imperial origin is not unlikely. Unfortunately, there is no specific connection with the court that would outweigh the chances of production anywhere else. If non-imperial, this bottle might have been made during the middle to the later part of the Qing dynasty. All of which is a long-winded way of saying we are not at all sure where this was made or when, but we are quite certain that it is irresistible.

    As with other fruits that grow in abundance from a single vine or contain multiple seeds, the melon is a symbol of fertility.

    具螺紋的十二瓣瓜,可繫而不可食

    海象牙,綠色染色劑;掏膛完整;十二瓣瓜形鼻煙壺
    1720~1850 年
    口經:0.49 厘米
    高:3.48 厘米 (包括原蓋)
    蓋:象牙,雕蒂,上部鑽孔以納線索,與塞為一體;原件

    狀態敘述:
    唇內綠似有一缺口 ,其實是螺紋從裏頭出現;因積年的使用,表面呈一般性的磨損。此外, 出坊狀態

    來源:
    羅伯特.霍爾 (1995)

    文獻:
    Treasury 7, 編號1561

    說明:
    詳細請參閱本煙壺的英文說明
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