Transparent, streaky, golden-brown, and brown amber with some internal crizzling; with a flat lip and recessed, slightly-convex foot surrounded by a protruding, broad, flat footrim; carved with a continuous garden scene in which four boys play blindman's buff 17501860 Height: 5.97 cm Mouth/lip: 0.60/1.81 cm Stopper: coral; stained bone collar
Condition: Bruise inside lip, visible only with the stopper removed; one tiny bruise and one tiny chip on outer footrim; otherwise, workshop condition
Exhibited: British Museum, London, JuneOctober 1995 Israel Museum, Jerusalem, JulyNovember 1997
The material here is likely to be burmite, the general consensus of opinion being that the majority of brown, reddish-brown, or golden-brown amber came from Burma. This subject of children playing in a garden setting also occurs on hornbill snuff bottles from the school of the Mid-Qing Hornbill Master (see under no. 1568; another example from the school was auctioned in Sale 2 as lot 125.), and there may be a closer relationship than is immediately apparent. The artist here set out to emphasize the carving and the subject matter while incorporating the natural markings in the amber positively. Taking a naturally variegated piece of amber, the artist has transformed his subject by using the darker markings as both subtle indications of depth and abstract shading. The diagonal streaks of darker brown running through parts of it also add a windswept appearance, which suits the scene ideally.