A pale green nephrite pebble-material 'dragon' snuff bottle Master of the Rocks school, 1680–1800
Lot 50
A pale green nephrite pebble-material 'dragon' snuff bottle Master of the Rocks school, 1680–1800
Sold for HK$ 480,000 (US$ 61,935) inc. premium
Auction Details
A pale green nephrite pebble-material 'dragon' snuff bottle Master of the Rocks school, 1680–1800 A pale green nephrite pebble-material 'dragon' snuff bottle Master of the Rocks school, 1680–1800 A pale green nephrite pebble-material 'dragon' snuff bottle Master of the Rocks school, 1680–1800
Lot Details
A pale green nephrite pebble-material 'dragon' snuff bottle
Master of the Rocks school, 1680–1800
7.46cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 1, no. 134

    青白玉帶皮雕水龍紋鼻煙壺
    卵石皮浮雕大師流派,1680~1800

    A pale green nephrite pebble-material 'dragon' snuff bottle

    ('The Master of the Rocks Dragon Vortex')

    Nephrite of pebble material; well hollowed, with a recessed, rounded-rectangular foot; carved with a continuous design of turbulent water at the base with a vortex surrounded by cresting waves on each side, one with the sun and a flying bat flanked on each side by distinctly lingzhi-shaped clouds, the other with a dragon emerging from clouds clutching at a flaming pearl while spouting a stream of water or vapour back into the vortex, another swirl of vapour emerging from the waves on one narrow side and containing a beribboned lozenge (fangsheng)
    Master of the Rocks school, 1680–1780
    Height: 7.46 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.7/1.91 and 1.89 cm (oval)
    Stopper: reticulated coral, made from half a bead carved with formalized shou ('longevity') characters surrounded by a scrolling floral motif; nephrite finial; gilt-copper collar

    Condition: Well worn from handling, the surface details smoothed considerably, but pleasantly; one small chip to upper flame of flaming pearl, not obtrusive

    Provenance:
    Paula J. Hallett
    Sotheby's, New York, 2 December 1985, lot 106
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd.

    Published:
    Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 54
    Treasury 1, no. 134

    Exhibited:
    Hong Kong Museum of Art, March–June 1994
    National Museum, Singapore, November 1994–February 1995

    Commentary
    This is another of the powerful examples in this collection from the Master of the Rocks school. It is linked by the distinctive material and by style, although there is some variation from the standard wares of the group, which are probably from the mid-Qing period. We postulate that this is an unusually early example. The extensively worn surface is an indication of this, although in isolation, of course, not an entirely reliable one. The wear is extremely convincing, with some areas of relief so well handled that the incised lines have been smoothed away completely from the central vortex of one side. It seems unlikely that this could have happened to a later Qing bottle, particularly since it would not have been used for snuff during most of the last hundred years. There are other indications of considerable age, and it might be from earlier in the Qing dynasty than the standard output of the school, and even a Kangxi date could be argued.

    The long, thin, sinuous dragon, largely lost behind clouds but with enough of its body shown to indicate its length and configuration, is typical of the early eighteenth century, and there is even a tenuous link with the early red glass overlay bottle in the J & J Collection (Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, no. 360), not only in the typically Kangxi, large-headed and long, thin-bodied dragon, but in the power of the subject and the lingzhi-shaped clouds. Although none of these features would preclude a Yongzheng or Qianlong date, it seems reasonable to assume that it is no later.

    It is certainly one of the most powerful examples from the school. The natural wear has greatly enhanced a design of imposing strength. A sense of flow and primal energy is captured in the design, and apart from the double lozenge (fangsheng), which occurs as one of the various sets of Eight Treasures of later Chinese history, the elements of the design seem somehow timeless. Both main sides have strong designs, but the simpler and now more readily readable side with the sun, waves, bat and clouds is magnificent. The elements are laid out simply and directly, the disc of the sun balanced below by the circular vortex of
    water, and the two are framed by the flying bat and the wisps of clouds above and, to the sides, by the cresting waves which are ideally abstracted but also evocative as turbulent seas.

    The pebble skin on this example, almost certainly enhanced by the oils from the hands which smoothed it to so great an extent over the past two or three centuries, is as darkly rich and fascinating as any known.

    For related examples, see Chinese Snuff Bottles No. 5, p. 24, fig. 3 (for a similar design equally powerfully carved, but possibly a little later since the large size relates to examples of the core group from the school); Eldred's, 27 August 1992, lot 134, and Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 24 April 1993, lot 529.

    青白玉帶皮雕水龍紋鼻煙壺

    卵石料; 掏膛徹底, 斂底
    卵石皮浮雕大師流派,1680–1780
    高:7.46 厘米
    口經/唇經:0.7/1.91 and 1.89 厘米 (橢圓形)
    蓋: 鏤空珊瑚, 玉頂飾,鎏金銅座

    狀態敘述:經過歲月的磨擦以後,壺身的細節稍微磨損了,很順眼;火焰珠上邊的火苗有一小缺口,並不觸目

    來源:
    Paula J. Hallett
    Sotheby's, New York, 2 December 1985, 拍賣品號 106
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd.

    文獻:
    Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, 編號 54
    Treasury 1, 編號 134

    展覽:
    Hong Kong Museum of Art, March–June 1994
    National Museum, Singapore, November 1994–February 1995

    說明
    我們推測這是卵石皮浮雕大師流派的早期作品。不但是擦得很平滑,說明曾有歲月的享用。再者,本壺上的龍的長度和配置就是十八世紀上半期的樣式, 與J & J 珍藏的一件套玻璃煙壺上的龍紋有纖細的關係(Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, 編號 360)。
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