A black nephrite snuff bottle 1730–1860
Lot 4
A black nephrite snuff bottle 1730–1860
Sold for HK$ 180,000 (US$ 23,225) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
A black nephrite snuff bottle
1730–1860
6.78cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 1, no. 160

    黑玉光素鼻煙壺

    A black nephrite snuff bottle

    ('Gerd Lester's Jet-Black Jade')

    Flawless jade (probably nephrite); very well hollowed, with a concave lip and concave, elongated, foot surrounded by a flat footrim
    1730–1860
    Height: 6.78 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.68/1.51 and 1.57 cm (oval)
    Stopper: coral; carnelian collar

    Condition: Original material: irregular, natural flaw running beneath the foot, not at all obtrusive. Bottle: workshop condition

    Provenance:
    Regency (New York, 1979)
    Gerd Lester (1986)

    Published:
    Kleiner 1995, no. 98
    Treasury 1, no. 160

    Exhibited:
    British Museum, June–October 1995
    Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1997

    Commentary
    This appears to be the same material as no. 58 in the J & J Collection (Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, p. 120), which defied expert analysis by two laboratories, and is very similar to no. 161 in Treasury 1. It has the hardness of jade, with the surface appearance of nephrite. If it is nephrite, then it is as black as it comes. This sort of pure black was known in pebble-material long before the snuff bottle was invented but usually as a skin, sometimes enhanced by staining (see also Treasury 1, no. 159). It is possible that this piece has also been enhanced by staining, the entire bottle having been immersed in boiling dye until the colour had completely permeated it; however, it has none of the signs of being artificially coloured and it is more likely to be from naturally pure black nephrite. As such, it would presumably have been a highly valued material, black jade having been among the most sought after of colours for more than a thousand years (see Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, p. 120).

    The form of this bottle is a variation on the simple mid-Qing form so often found in white nephrite or crystal (see, for instance, Sale 2, lot 83, and in the J & J Collection, no. 97). Apart from the absence of the pronounced, relief footrim, the body is a little wider, the neck narrower, and the front and back panels completely flat over a larger surface with matching flat areas on the narrow sides, which almost give the impression of a faceted bottle. It is also unusual to find the standard mid-Qing form with a concave lip or with a mouth so wide in relation to the lip.

    黑玉光素鼻煙壺

    無瑕,大概為閃玉;掏膛徹底, 凹唇,凹底,圈足底完全接觸地面
    1730–1860
    高:6.78 厘米
    口經/唇經:0.68/1.51 及 1.57 厘米 (橢圓形)
    蓋: 珊瑚; 紅白玉髓 座

    狀態敘述: 質料: 底部呈不規則的天然瑕疵,並不引人注目。壺:出坊狀態

    來源:
    Regency (New York, 1979)
    Gerd Lester (1986)

    文獻:
    Kleiner 1995, 編號 98
    Treasury 1, 編號 160

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

    說明
    本壺的質料好像跟J & J 珍藏的編號 58 (Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, p. 120) 一樣,而那件經過兩家試驗室的專家分析以後,還是不知道是不是閃玉。它硬度跟翡翠一樣,質地很像閃玉。

    本壺的外形就是清中葉白玉和水晶常見的形式的另一種,可參見第二場拍賣會,拍賣品號 83 和上舉的 J & J 珍藏,編號 97。 清朝中葉典型的凹唇的壺口和相對那麼寬的結合是比較罕見的。

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