An inscribed emerald-green and pink glass snuff bottle Probably Yangzhou, 1881
Lot 73
An inscribed emerald-green and pink glass snuff bottle Probably Yangzhou, 1881
Sold for HK$ 264,000 (US$ 34,031) inc. premium

Lot Details
An inscribed emerald-green and pink glass snuff bottle Probably Yangzhou, 1881 An inscribed emerald-green and pink glass snuff bottle Probably Yangzhou, 1881 An inscribed emerald-green and pink glass snuff bottle Probably Yangzhou, 1881 An inscribed emerald-green and pink glass snuff bottle Probably Yangzhou, 1881 An inscribed emerald-green and pink glass snuff bottle Probably Yangzhou, 1881
An inscribed emerald-green and pink glass snuff bottle
Probably Yangzhou, 1881
5.82cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 5, no. 1030

    粉地套綠色玻璃花鳥魚石圖鼻煙壺
    大概作於揚州,1881年

    Juggling Act

    Transparent emerald-green and translucent pink glass; with a flat lip and recessed, slightly convex foot surrounded by a protruding flat footrim; carved as a single overlay with carving in the ground colour, on one main side with two swallows and two butterflies above a flowering orchid, with a seal in relief positive seal script Jixiang ('auspicious'), the other main side with four large and five small fish amidst floating blossoms in a pond with a perforated rocky outcrop, inscribed in seal script '[Made in] mid-spring of the year xinsi,' the narrow sides with mask-and-ring handles
    Probably Yangzhou, 1881
    Height: 5.82 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.59/1.52 cm
    Stopper: nephrite; gilt-silver collar

    Condition: Mouth rim slightly irregular, possibly polished; otherwise, in workshop condition

    Provenance:
    Christie's, London, 7 June 1993, lot 197 (two bottles)

    Published:
    Kleiner 1995, no. 179
    Treasury 5, no. 1030

    Exhibited:
    British Museum, London, June-October 1995
    Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July-November 1997

    Commentary:
    Of the same rare colour combination as Treasury 5, no. 1022 (which bears the name Li Yunting), but with a lighter pink ground, this is another of those masterpieces we have associated with Li that has carving in the ground colour. It demonstrates masterly composition, achieving perfect balance between the contrasting relief elements. On the side bearing the orchids, only the leaves of the orchids are in monochrome relief, while everything else is contrasted. A very subtle balance is also accomplished by placing one of the swallows and the raised seal close to the long leaves of the plant. These two elements play an important formal role in relation to the two green flower heads, low in the foreground, for in the absence of the bird and seal, they would look out of place. Alerted by this, we recognize how carefully considered are all the green elements on this side. Each of approximately the same size, or assuming similar visual 'weight,' they are delightfully placed as if in an imaginary circle, the two flowers like hands juggling the birds, butterflies and seal in an arc between them. The balance is maintained in a similar manner on the other main side, although this is much busier in its detail. The splendid, if subtle, pink perforated rock in the centre reads as empty space by comparison to the contrasting relief detail, which is distributed round it in a circle, albeit one less neatly defined than on the other side. The dynamics of this composition are impressive, with some fish pointing diagonally downward from upper right to lower left (from the viewer's point of view) while three of the larger fish provide a visual counterpoint by turning towards the base of the bottle. This is balanced by the static blossoms, all of which are concentrated in the lower quarter of the picture area. The inscription aligns neck and monochrome rock, lending a strong vertical element to the entire design.

    This is among that group of less common masterpieces in this tradition with mask-and-ring handles, and they exhibit an interesting feature. The large heads are typical of the school standard, with a single curl winding up from the top of the eyes and doubling as eyebrows (or horns) and only two other tiny curls, at the very top of the head. The face, however, seems more detailed than usual, principally because the nose is upturned to display well-defined nostrils above a broad, upper jaw-line. For all this, however, these remain typical masks of the school, stylistically far removed from their courtly counterparts. Another indication of the superb quality of this bottle is found in the footrim, which is as well defined and as crisply carved as anything from the Qianlong court.

    The seal stands for no particular artist, but is among the most common for the school, appearing on a few of the finer works and many of the more commercial, lesser carvings. It communicates both the auspicious nature of the subject matter and the aspiration that the good wishes be transferred to the owner of the bottle. It seems to have been added almost reflexively, particularly on the lesser works upon which a seal was required, but no individual was associated with the carving by name. It may have originated on a bottle such as this, of masterly quality and obviously by a master, soon becoming no more than a school standard, like a modern-day trade mark. Other non-personal seals used by the school we associate with Li Yunting are: ziwan ('for personal enjoyment'); zhenwan ('for treasured enjoyment'); xianpin ('object of the immortals'); xinwan ('heart's delight'); daya ('great elegance'); zhengke ('appropriate' or 'just right'); tianran ('natural'), and yannian (short for yannian yishou, ['conducive to prolonging life']).

    平衡術

    透光粉紅色玻璃,外套以透明鮮綠色玻璃;平唇、微凸形斂足、突出圈足,足底完全接觸地面;單層外套和瓶地一正面雕燕子蝴蝶幽蘭圖, 有陽文"吉祥"篆印,另一正面雕游魚浮花湖石圖,有陽文"辛巳中春"篆印,兩側面雕獸首啣環耳
    大概作於揚州,1881年
    高﹕ 5.82 厘米
    口經/唇經: 0.59/1.52 厘米
    蓋﹕ 閃玉;鎏金銀座

    狀態敘述:
    口緣略為不規整,可能是曾經修補過,除此以外,出坊狀態

    來源:
    佳士得,倫敦,1993年6月7日,拍賣品號 197 (二件煙壺)

    文獻:
    Kleiner 1995, 編號 179
    Treasury 5, 編號 1030

    展覽:
    大英博物館, 倫敦, 1995年6月~10月
    Israel Museum, 耶路撒冷, 1997年7月~11月

    說明:
    詳細的欣賞,請參閱本壺的英文說明。
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