An inscribed black and white nephrite 'Zhang Qian' snuff bottle Suzhou, 1740–1850
Lot 151
An inscribed black and white nephrite 'Zhang Qian' snuff bottle Suzhou, 1740–1850
Sold for HK$ 720,000 (US$ 92,746) inc. premium

Lot Details
An inscribed black and white nephrite 'Zhang Qian' snuff bottle Suzhou, 1740–1850 An inscribed black and white nephrite 'Zhang Qian' snuff bottle Suzhou, 1740–1850 An inscribed black and white nephrite 'Zhang Qian' snuff bottle Suzhou, 1740–1850 An inscribed black and white nephrite 'Zhang Qian' snuff bottle Suzhou, 1740–1850 An inscribed black and white nephrite 'Zhang Qian' snuff bottle Suzhou, 1740–1850 An inscribed black and white nephrite 'Zhang Qian' snuff bottle Suzhou, 1740–1850 An inscribed black and white nephrite 'Zhang Qian' snuff bottle Suzhou, 1740–1850
An inscribed black and white nephrite 'Zhang Qian' snuff bottle
Suzhou, 1740–1850
5.4cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 1, no. 128

    墨玉雕張騫遊仙山鼻煙壺
    蘇州,1740-1850

    The Explorer's Return from the Stars

    Nephrite; well hollowed, with an irregular flat foot; carved with a continuous rocky landscape scene with trees and lingzhi framing a body of water on which Zhang Qian floats in his log boat, the upper branches of which are still in leaf above a double gourd dangling from the upper reaches of the main trunk; a two-storied pavilion floating in the clouds above, all beneath a shoulder band of formalized clouds, inscribed 'On his return [Zhang Qian] brought back only the stone that supported the loom [of Zhinü, the Weaving Maid].'
    Suzhou, 1740–1850
    Height: 5.4 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.5/1.82 cm
    Stopper: tourmaline; jadeite collar
    Condition: Two practically invisible insignificant, tiny chips to the inner lip. Otherwise, workshop condition


    Provenance:
    Alice B. McReynolds
    Emily Byrne Curtis (1987)

    Published:
    Newsletter, December 1973, p. 26
    Arts of Asia, July-August 1974, p. 63
    JICSBS, September 1975, front cover
    Stevens 1976, no. 447
    Arts of Asia, September–October 1990, front cover
    Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 44
    Treasury 1, no. 128

    Exhibited:
    San Francisco Convention, 1973, prize-winning bottle
    Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993
    Hong Kong Museum of Art, March–June 1994
    National Museum, Singapore, November 1994–February 1995

    Commentary:
    One of the masterpieces from the classic Suzhou output of the mid-Qing period, this is of the multi-plane cameo type where successive layers of colour are used to considerable effect. Other examples may be found in Treasury 1, nos. 127, 129, and 130, Chinese Snuff Bottles No. 3, p. 20, figs. 1 and 2; Perry 1960, no. 85; Stevens 1976, no. 451, and Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, nos. 24, 25, and 26.

    The style of carving links all of these bottles, which may have come from the same workshop, involving perhaps only a small group of carvers over a period of a few decades, or perhaps only a single carver. The cursive inscriptions that appear on some of them and on other Suzhou bottles also link them, although in a workshop it is possible that all of the inscriptions were the responsibility of one literate carver. There can be little doubt that several of these cursive inscriptions come from the same hand.

    The shape of the foot here is dictated by the rocks, which end at the base of the bottle, leaving it irregular. This is one common form of foot for Suzhou bottles. Others have the design, usually rocks or water, continuing under the foot or a simple concavity or flat area. Raised footrims are rare as are mask and ring handles on the fully evolved, classic wares (although see the discussion on two bottles signed by Zhiting with mask handles, under Treasury 1, no. 122).

    The identity of an individual figure on a log raft is sometimes difficult to establish accurately (Tsang 1992), but here we have the advantage of an identifying inscription. Depicted is the Han-dynasty explorer, Zhang Qian (?–114 B.C.), an historical figure who undertook two arduous journeys to Central Asia as a goodwill ambassador at the command of Emperor Wudi (r. 140–88 B.C.). In official documentation, he is recorded as having been entrusted on one of these trips with looking for the source of the Yellow River. This trip was later fantasized by Zong Lin of the Liang dynasty (502–556) in his Jing Chu suishi ji, a work dealing with local customs and seasonal festivals of the Chu area. Drawing upon an earlier work, the Bowu zhi (Notes on Miscellaneous Things) by Zhang Hua (232–300), Zong Lin asserted that Zhang Qian was the unnamed hero who, according to Zhang Hua, plied a raft on the Milky Way, where he met the Weaving Maiden and was given a stone that supported her loom as a clue to her true identity. This then became the popular subject adopted into the repertoire of later artists.

    The gourd hanging from the upper trunk of the raft may have functioned as a wine- bottle, but by the time Zhang Qian had become a legendary figure it would probably have doubled as a symbol of the Immortal. The dwelling floating in the clouds presumably represents the home of the Weaving Maiden (see JICSBS, Summer 1984, pp. 8–9).

    天宮遙遙相望,機石白白帶還

    閃玉;掏膛完整,不規則的平底;雕通體山水中的張騫;張騫坐槎浮水, 上邊浮雕卷雲中的天宮,刻有"只帶支櫟片石還"一句
    蘇州,1740~1850年
    高﹕ 5.4 厘米
    口經/唇經: 0.5/1.82 厘米
    蓋﹕ 碧璽; 硬玉 座

    狀態敘述:
    唇內有兩個幾乎看不見的微小缺口。 此外,出坊狀態

    來源:
    Alice B. McReynolds
    艾米莉.比爾內.柯梯斯 (1987)

    文獻﹕
    Newsletter, December 1973, 頁 26
    Arts of Asia, 1974年7月~8月,頁 63
    《國際中國鼻煙壺協會的學術期刊》(JICSBS), 1975年9月,封面
    Stevens 1976, 編號 447
    Arts of Asia, 1990年9月~10月, 封面
    Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, 編號 44
    Treasury 1, 編號128

    展覽﹕
    國際中國鼻煙壺協會1973年年會,舊金山,獲獎的鼻煙壺
    Creditanstalt, 維也納, 1993年5月~6月
    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:
    這是清朝中葉蘇州典型的多層顏色浮雕閃玉精品。其他例子和詳細論述,請參閱本壺的英文說明。


Auction information

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

Contacts
  1. Daniel Lam
    Specialist - Whisky
    Bonhams
    Work
    Suite 2001, One Pacific Place
    Hong Kong
    Work +852 3607 0004
    FaxFax: +852 2918 4320
Similar Items