A white and russet nephrite 'archaistic cicada' snuff bottle 1700-1820
Lot 22
A white and russet nephrite 'archaistic cicada' snuff bottle 1700-1820
Sold for HK$ 218,750 (US$ 28,225) inc. premium
Auction Details
A white and russet nephrite 'archaistic cicada' snuff bottle 1700-1820 A white and russet nephrite 'archaistic cicada' snuff bottle 1700-1820 A white and russet nephrite 'archaistic cicada' snuff bottle 1700-1820 A white and russet nephrite 'archaistic cicada' snuff bottle 1700-1820 A white and russet nephrite 'archaistic cicada' snuff bottle 1700-1820
Lot Details
A white and russet nephrite 'archaistic cicada' snuff bottle
1700-1820
6.29cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 1, no. 59

    白玉帶皮仿古蟬形鼻煙壺

    A white and russet nephrite 'archaistic cicada' snuff bottle

    Nephrite of pebble material; well hollowed and carved in the form of a cicada, the surface decorated with archaistic motifs, including birds on each wing
    1700–1820
    Length: 6.29 cm
    Mouth: 0.43 cm
    Stopper: coral, carved in the form of a cicada

    Condition: two miniscule chips to the lip; natural flaws worked into the design following the line of the wing; small chip on the underside of the hind leg of the cicada

    Provenance:
    Robert Hall (1984)

    Published:
    Kleiner 1987, no. 58
    Treasury 1, no. 59

    Exhibited:
    Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987
    Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993

    Because of its ancient origins in Chinese art, the cicada was frequently depicted during the Qing dynasty with archaistic elements, even if only hinted at in small, comma-like motifs taken from ancient bronze and jade decoration and confined to the head and upper back of the insect. Snuff bottles of cicada form are reasonably common and range from the almost entirely realistic to archaistic abstractions.

    Of all the cicada-form snuff bottles known, this is the epitome of the application of archaism to a realistic subject. It is also one of the finest and most convincingly carved insect sculptures in the entire field of Chinese snuff bottles. The use of a natural pebble of nephrite has dictated the form to some extent, which is delightfully eccentric for a cicada-form snuff bottle. With complete and wholly confident control of the medium, the artist has carved the underside of the insect in as realistic a manner as can be found on such bottles. The lower part and the upper front of the head have also been realistically depicted. The rest of the upper portion, including the back of the head, the upper back and the wings are all carved with formalized, archaistic motifs, which include the very rare feature of complete birds on each wing replacing the usual formalized depiction of the skeletal structure of the wings. One other example is known with a similar feature, although the illustration does not allow distinction between archaic birds and the alternative kui or even chi dragons. It is in white nephrite and, because its form was not dictated to any degree by the original pebble material, it is less eccentrically shaped (JICSBS, Autumn 1988, p. 24, fig. 2, previously sold by Sotheby's, London, 6 June 1988, lot 64). These birds are taken from bronze decoration of the Zhou dynasty and add immensely, not only to the visual charm of the bottle but also to its symbolism, linking a purely Qing art-form with long-established symbolism and a powerful reference to the material culture of a past golden age.

    The stopper is a delightful crowning touch to a masterly bottle. It is of softly coloured and attractively striated coral and it is also carved in the form of a cicada, although entirely realistically. Among stoppers, it is a masterpiece in its own right.

    白玉帶皮仿古蟬形鼻煙壺

    卵石料; 掏膛完整,雕蟬形,蟬身呈仿古紋飾,蟬翼上刻鳥紋
    1700–1820
    長﹕ 6.29 厘米
    口經: 0.43 厘米
    蓋: 珊瑚,雕蟬形

    狀態敘述:唇呈兩道缺口;有瑕疵雕成設計的成分;蟬後腳有小缺口

    來源﹕
    羅伯特.霍爾 (1984)

    文獻﹕
    Kleiner 1987, 編號58
    Treasury 1, 編號59

    展覽﹕
    Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987
    Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993

    說明﹕
    蟬很早與中國藝術結緣,是古代銅器常見的圖案,難怪清代蟬形的器物往往帶擬古的紋飾。本壺代表逼真的形式和擬古的紋飾的結合,也是中國蟲形鼻煙壺當中非常精美的一件。卵石形的玉璞支配了煙壺的形式,蟬形因而異乎尋常,討人喜歡的。

    有另一白玉蟬形鼻煙壺,蟬翼上也刻著鳥紋,或許是夔紋甚至螭紋,因為圖片不清楚,不能確認。見《國際中國鼻煙壺協會的學術期刊》, 1988年秋期,頁 24, 圖 2, 以前由倫敦蘇富比拍賣,1988年6月6日, 拍賣品號64).

    這個蓋也是傑出 的,是顏色、紋理好看的珊瑚作的,雕的是逼真的蟬,有像畫龍點睛似的。

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