A silver 'Guangxu coin' snuff bottle Hung Chong, Guangzhou or Shanghai, 1890-1920
Lot 122
A silver 'Guangxu coin' snuff bottle Hung Chong, Guangzhou or Shanghai, 1890-1920
Sold for HK$ 50,000 (US$ 6,449) inc. premium
Auction Details
A silver 'Guangxu coin' snuff bottle Hung Chong, Guangzhou or Shanghai, 1890-1920 A silver 'Guangxu coin' snuff bottle Hung Chong, Guangzhou or Shanghai, 1890-1920 A silver 'Guangxu coin' snuff bottle Hung Chong, Guangzhou or Shanghai, 1890-1920 A silver 'Guangxu coin' snuff bottle Hung Chong, Guangzhou or Shanghai, 1890-1920 A silver 'Guangxu coin' snuff bottle Hung Chong, Guangzhou or Shanghai, 1890-1920 A silver 'Guangxu coin' snuff bottle Hung Chong, Guangzhou or Shanghai, 1890-1920
Lot Details
A silver 'Guangxu coin' snuff bottle
Hung Chong, Guangzhou or Shanghai, 1890-1920
5.51cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 7, no. 1629

    銀鑄錢幣形鼻煙壺
    恒昌號, 廣州或上海,1890~1920

    A silver 'Guangxu coin' snuff bottle

    Silver; with a flat lip and recessed, bowed, flat foot surrounded by a protruding, rectangular footrim; the two main sides simulating the obverse and reverse of a coin inscribed in Chinese on one side Guangxu tongbao (Guangxu currency), and in Manchu on the other designating the Guangdong mint; the foot chased with a formalised floral design that dictates the form, the foot stamped with two seals, one in Chinese Xingfa (Prosperity), the other in Roman letters, HC
    Hung Chong, Guangzhou or Shanghai, 1890–1920
    Height: 5.51 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.99/1.42 cm
    Stopper: transparent sapphire-blue glass; with integral copper finial, collar, and cork, and integral brass spoon

    Condition: a couple of miniscule dents on the edges of both faces; one tiny dent on the outer lip

    Provenance:
    Sotheby's, London, 5 December 1983, lot 141
    Sotheby's, London, 6 December 1994, lot 188
    Robert Hall (circa 1995)

    Published:
    JICSBS, Spring 1998, p. 9
    Treasury 7, no. 1629

    The identification of the Guangdong mint in Manchu script is provided by Graham 1998, p. 9. It is confirmed by Su Ye 2008, p. 708, where we learn that this particular coin was minted in 1890 in a mint established by Zhang Zhidong (1837 – 1909). This tells us that the snuff bottle based on the coin could not have been made before 1890.

    The true intent of this bottle is suggested by the Roman-letter seal, HC, on the foot, which suggests that it was made for an export market as a curiosity. In this role it would have worked well, because in a single precious object of silver are combined a typically Chinese snuff bottle and a simulacrum of the local currency. The use of Roman-character trademarks identifying the manufacturer was common practice among export silversmiths from the eighteenth century onwards, and the trend was spread to other centres after the expansion of the silver trade following the opening of more treaty ports after the Opium War. HC stands for Hung Chong. (Export silversmiths are better known by their traditional transliterations, so we have not rendered them into pinyin. The name Hung Chong, actually only one of several marks used by the company, would be read Hengchang in Mandarin pronunciation and pinyin spelling.) Hung Chong was a company active at the end of the Qing dynasty and into the Republican period in two locations: Club Street, Honam Island, Guangzhou; and 11b Nanking Road, Shanghai. (See Forbes, Kernan, and Wilkins, Chinese Export Silver, 1785 to 1885, pp. 110–112, with examples pp. 185, 215, 231, and 232, and information regarding marks on pp. 244 and 245). Given that the coin copied here is from the Guangzhou mint, we might be inclined to favour Guangzhou as a place of origin, but in fact we have no real way of knowing.

    The stopper, while looking rather grand, is not the original, since it is probably a good deal earlier. It is a typical palace style of stopper, where a cabochon, drilled through, is held in place by a metal finial fixed through the hole to the collar. It probably dates from the eighteenth century. It is of copper, not silver, so would be an unlikely original in any case.

    A closely related bottle is in Deng 1993, no. 8.11, with the same inscription in Chinese, but not in Manchu. It also has an extremely long neck for a snuff bottle, almost as tall again as the body of the bottle. Another, set on what appear to be small ball feet, was in Old Chinese Snuff Bottles Catalogue No. 1, no. 105, but only the side with the Chinese inscription was illustrated.


    銀鑄錢幣形鼻煙壺

    銀;平唇,平弓形斂底,突出圈足;兩正面模擬廣東機製光緒通寶錢幣,一正為 "光緒通寶" ,一正面為 "寶廣" 兩個滿文, 圈足雕鏤形式化花朵紋, 底戳二印,一為"興發" 二字,一為羅馬字典HC
    恒昌號,廣州或上海, 1890–1920
    高﹕ 5.51 厘米
    口經/唇經: 0.99/1.42 厘米
    蓋: 透明藍寶藍玻璃;有銅頂飾、座、塞,全為一體,與黃銅匙為一體

    狀態敘述:兩面緣有一二微乎其微的凹痕,唇外沿亦呈微乎其微的凹痕

    來源﹕
    倫敦蘇富比, 1983年12月5日, 拍賣品號 141
    倫敦蘇富比, 1994年12月6日, 拍賣品號 188
    羅伯特.霍爾 (約 1995)

    文獻﹕
    《國際中國鼻煙壺協會的學術期刊》, 1998年春期,頁 9
    Treasury 7, 編號1629

    說明﹕
    光緒十六年(1890),在張之洞開辦的廣東錢局裏開始鑄造這個錢幣(參閱蘇曄 2008,頁708)。所以,這件鼻煙壺一定是1890年以後製的。HC 是恒昌號的印,恒昌號從事製作銀器,在上海、廣州都有分店,向歐美出口了相當多的銀質器具。(參閱 Forbes, Kernan, and Wilkins, Chinese Export Silver, 1785 to 1885, 頁 110–112, 185, 215, 231, 232, 244及 245).

    這件銅蓋很壯麗,可是不是原件。是典型的宮廷式,擬屬十八世紀。

    光緒通寶錢形鼻煙壺亦有鄧仲安 1993, 編號8.11,而那件沒有滿文。另一件發表於 Old Chinese Snuff Bottles Catalogue 編號1, 編號105,而只有漢文一面的圖片。
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