An aquamarine 'cicada and gourd' snuff bottle Probably Imperial, 1760–1840
Lot 3
An aquamarine 'cicada and gourd' snuff bottle Probably Imperial, 1760–1840
Sold for HK$ 108,000 (US$ 13,932) inc. premium
Auction Details
An aquamarine 'cicada and gourd' snuff bottle Probably Imperial, 1760–1840 An aquamarine 'cicada and gourd' snuff bottle Probably Imperial, 1760–1840
Lot Details
An aquamarine 'cicada and gourd' snuff bottle
Probably Imperial, 1760–1840
5.6cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 3, no. 409

    海藍寶瓜瓞鼻煙壺
    大概為御製品,1760~1840

    An aquamarine 'cicada and gourd' snuff bottle

    ('The Imperial Cicada and Gourd Aquamarine')

    Aquamarine; reasonably well hollowed, carved in the form of a gourd growing from a vine, with leaves and tendrils, the bottom of the gourd serving as a natural foot; carved in relief with a butterfly and a cicada
    Probably imperial, 1760–1840
    Height: 5.6 cm
    Mouth: 0.47 cm
    Stopper: tourmaline, carved to suggest a double-gourd shape

    Condition: Original material: suffused with the usual icy flaws for this material in larger pieces; chip to a tendril curling up towards the neck on one narrow side; small chip to one side of a leaf to the left of the cicada's head; another small chip on the leaf to the left of the butterfly; small chip to the upper leaf above the cicada

    Provenance:
    Christie's, Hong Kong, 2 October 1991, lot 1200

    Published:
    Kleiner 1995, no. 302
    Treasury 3, no. 409
    Exhibited:
    British Museum, London, June–October 1995
    Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997

    Commentary
    For the emergence of aquamarine as a material for snuff bottles after the Qing occupation of Chinese Turkestan in 1759, see Sale 2, lot 16. Fruit- and vegetable-form snuff bottles were a staple of mid-Qing imperial snuff-bottle production , as were cicadas.

    The stunning material here is as fine and gem-like a colour as one can expect in something the size of a snuff bottle, particularly in the area from which the cicada is carved. It is also of a popular imperial form. There is another clue, however, as to its imperial provenance. The cicada and one large leaf are carved, as a subtle cameo, from darker material, visible in the illustrations but more obvious in the hand. The stone is of two distinct tones of colour, and the darker area has been brilliantly isolated as the insect. This relates directly to the use of two-toned tourmaline in a small series of imperial wares of the late Qianlong period and provides another link with the court and the late Qianlong period although, again, we have allowed for a later date to accommodate the continuation of Qianlong style under his immediate successors.

    There is a related bottle illustrated by Perry 1960, no. 95, in green beryl. It is also of fruit-form. Aquamarine and beryl differ only in colour and are otherwise the same mineral and would have been carved by the same workshops, those that also produced other hardstone bottles, including jade, of course.

    海藍寶瓜瓞鼻煙壺

    海藍寶; 掏膛適度地徹底
    大概為御製品, 1760–1840
    高:5.6 厘米
    口經: 0.47 厘米
    蓋: 碧璽, 雕細腰葫蘆形

    狀態敘述: 質料: 佈滿大塊海藍寶常見的如冰瑕形狀的瑕疵,一側面頸邊卷鬚呈缺口,蟬頭左邊葉子的一邊呈小缺口;蝴蝶左邊的葉子呈另一個小缺口;蟬上邊的葉子亦呈小缺口

    來源:
    Christie's, Hong Kong, 2 October 1991, 拍賣品號 1200

    文獻:
    Kleiner 1995, 編號 302
    Treasury 3, 編號 409

    展覽:
    British Museum, London, June–October 1995
    Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997

    說明
    關於清朝平定了天山南麓的大和卓波羅尼都、小和卓霍集占叛亂以後海藍寶雕刻的盛況,請參見第二場拍賣會, 拍賣品號 16. 本壺的顏色特別好,也是宮廷作坊喜愛的形式。蟬和一片大葉是深點顏色的石材雕的,這正好適合乾隆晚期的一些二色碧璽雕物。
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