Wood burl (possibly huamu, birch burl); reasonably well hollowed, with a flattened lip and no functional foot; the natural, irregular bottle resembling a fruit with a cylindrical neck rising out of it, carved with a leaf down one side, joined to the neck by an arching petiole 17801900 Height: 5.49 cm (measured at right angles to the plane of the lip) Mouth/lip: 0.79/1.32 cm Stopper: glass; ivory collar
Condition: Crack in neck, which may be post-manufacture damage; one small knot hole, filled, part of the original process; surface worn through use
Provenance: Hugh Moss (HK) Ltd (1997)
Published: Treasury 7, no. 1476
This unusual example of a burl snuff bottle has been left with a good deal of the natural shape of the outer burl intact, forming a strange-looking fruit. The shoulders and neck are carved, as is the loop formed by the petiole; this leaf stalk was presumably intended to be functional as an anchor for a cord that would secure the bottle either to a belt or to a toggle used to hold the cord in place beneath a belt. The latter, functioning like Japanese netsuke, allowed for various pouches or other containers to be suspended safely from a tight belt while being easily removed for use. It is even possible that the bottle itself was intended to double as a toggle to suspend something else as well.