A carved 'chenxiangmu' 'landscape' snuff bottle 1760–1860
Lot 111
A carved 'chenxiangmu' 'landscape' snuff bottle 1760–1860
Sold for HK$ 78,000 (US$ 10,064) inc. premium
Auction Details
A carved 'chenxiangmu' 'landscape' snuff bottle 1760–1860 A carved 'chenxiangmu' 'landscape' snuff bottle 1760–1860 A carved 'chenxiangmu' 'landscape' snuff bottle 1760–1860
Lot Details
A carved 'chenxiangmu' 'landscape' snuff bottle
1760–1860
7.04cm high (including original stopper).

Footnotes

  • Treasury 7, no. 1470

    沉香木雕山林仙人圖鼻煙壺

    A carved chengxiangmu 'landscape' snuff bottle

    ('Hint of Honey')

    Wood (lign aloes, chenxiangmu); with a flat lip and naturalistic foot formed as elements of the design; made from various segments and carved with a continuous rocky landscape scene with a mature pine tree, two other trees, possibly also intended as conifers, and bamboo, a scholar in formal cap sitting beneath the pine and by a natural rock table upon which an open book rests as his servant approaches from behind carrying a dish holding a finger citron (Buddha's hand) while two gentlemen in informal dress on the opposite main side play weiqi on another natural stone table, with formalized clouds swirling on the shoulders
    1760–1860
    Height: 6.64 cm (including original stopper)
    Mouth/lip: 0.76/1.33 cm
    Stopper: wood (lign aloes, chenxiangmu), carved as a formalized chrysanthemum flower; original

    Condition:original surface colouring to neck to hide joins across shoulders and neck partially gone, revealing the original wood below;some small areas of original filling now showing darker than the main wood;stopper with reasonably large chip restored in what is now a darker colour with one missing flake from the restoration (0.8 x 0.7 cm).General relative condition: good

    Provenance:
    Gerry P. Mack
    Sotheby's, New York, 25 October 1997, lot 215

    Published:
    Chinese Snuff Bottles, No. 3, p. 42, fig 42
    Treasury 7, no. 1470

    Commentary
    Lign aloes (or agarwood, eagle wood, etc.) comes from Aquilaria sinensis, a Chinese tree, or, more commonly over the centuries, from Aquilaria malaccensis, a Southeast Asian tree (now threatened by habitat destruction). The first reliable reference to chenxiangmu is found in a standard history compiled in the first half of the seventh century and covering the period 420 –589. It was highly valued for burning as incense. It often has an aroma of honey, and there is an unconfirmed legend that this is due to the fact that honey ants formed their nests in the soft dead wood of the tree, impregnating it with fragrance. A discernible smell of honey lingers in this example. If there is any truth in this tale, it might account for the fact that the more fragrant wood is often riddled with holes, so even small items were frequently made up of several solid segments joined together, which is the case here.

    Many of the surviving pieces, whether literati accoutrements or snuff bottles (the two are not, of course, mutually exclusive), seem to be from the same workshop or to represent a school of carving that specialized in this material, probably over an extended period of time. Given the source of the wood, the items may have been made in the south of China. Many of the snuff bottles, however, are in a different style, as are the two in the Bloch collection (the other being Sale 1, lot 92), and their courtly, original stoppers may indicate a northern origin, or at least production for the court. Both stoppers at issue in this collection reflect the style of formalized chrysanthemum flower stoppers that are not only common on a series of carved cinnabar-lacquer bottles that are probably imperial (see Sale 2, lot 104) but also standard for a mid-Qing range of imperial moulded porcelain bottles (see, for example,Sale 1, lot 83).

    This school's characteristic treatment of the foliage of trees, which leaves us in some doubt as to which particular species is intended, was mentioned under Sale 1, lot 92.

    沉香木雕山林仙人圖鼻煙壺

    沉香木;平唇
    1760–1860
    帶蓋高:6.64 厘米
    口經/唇經:0.76/1.33 厘米
    蓋: 沉香木,雕形式化菊花;原件

    狀態敘述:掩蔽接縫的顏料已經一部分地脫落,下面的木頭露出;原來填補的地方比沉香木暗;蓋呈較大的缺口, 已經修補了,但變暗的填補質已落了一片 (0.8 x 0.7 厘米). 總體品相: 良好

    來源:
    Gerry P. Mack
    Sotheby's, New York, 25 October 1997, 拍賣品號 215

    文獻:
    Chinese Snuff Bottles, 編號 3, p. 42, fig 42
    Treasury 7, 編號 1470

    說明:
    很多現存的沉香木煙壺和其他種擺飾程同一個雕風,好像是一個作坊或者一個雕刻流派所製。不過,有的沉香木煙壺卻不是那個雕風,如伯樂珍藏本壺和第一場拍賣會, 拍賣品號 92);它們帶宮廷式蓋,或許是在華北作的,抑或是給宮廷作的。帶形式化菊花蓋的御製或推定為御製的鼻煙壺,參見第二場拍賣會, 拍賣品號 104以及 第一場拍賣會, 拍賣品號 83).
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