A bamboo snuff bottle Tongzhi mark and of the period, 1862–1873
Lot 149
A bamboo snuff bottle Tongzhi mark and of the period, 1862–1873
Sold for HK$ 106,250 (US$ 13,702) inc. premium
Lot Details
A bamboo snuff bottle
Tongzhi mark and of the period, 1862–1873
6.73cm high.


  • Treasury 7, no. 1479


    A bamboo snuff bottle

    Bamboo; well hollowed, with a concave lip and convex foot, inscribed in regular script within an oval cartouche, Tongzhi nian (Tongzhi period)
    Height: 6.73 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.63/1.85 cm
    Stopper: jadeite; silver collar

    One natural crack at the top of one small side; some surface wear from use; otherwise, workshop condition

    Harry Ross
    Christie's, London, 19 June 1978, lot 179

    Treasury 7, no. 1479

    The common form for a snuff bottle made from a short internodal segment of bamboo close to ground level is a fat disc with irregular, sometimes concave diaphragms making up each main side. This is a classic example, with the plain, unspeckled diaphragm clearly differentiated from the speckled culm cut at right angles to the grain, and the two irregular diaphragms serving as integral snuff dishes. It also has the lovely dark patina that speaks of both original staining and years of further natural polishing as the oils from the hand are rubbed into the surface of the bamboo. One of the great joys of patina, particularly apparent on snuff bottles of organic materials, is that it is an unpredictable, natural process that over time makes every patination unique.

    The surface would suggest that this is among the earlier range of bamboo bottles, and yet the mark clearly dates it to the second half of the nineteenth century. Organic substances in constant use can patinate quickly, and if they are stained to a relatively dark colour to begin with, as some bamboo carvings were, a century of use can impart to the surface a patination that makes it look much older. On many an organic snuff bottle, the state of patination is likely to give an exaggerated impression of its age, which is what we see here.

    We postulate, on the basis of surviving examples, that separate snuff dishes, as opposed to integral ones, had become standard by the nineteenth century. To whatever extent new fashions prevailed in the snuff-bottle world, however, older fashions maintained a place; and there can be little doubt that bamboo snuff bottles of this sort were appreciated in part for their natural, integral snuff dishes.

    Harry Ross collected mainly in the 1960s. He lived about one mile from Moss's family home in Wimbledon, in southwest London, and the two frequently got together. His collection was on the small side and his funds were limited, but he was a keen collector at a time when limited funds allowed for the acquisition of some fine examples if enthusiasm for the chase was linked to good taste. In those days a trip to the Portobello Road on a Saturday would uncover a number of fine snuff bottles from perhaps half a dozen different dealers.


    竹節;掏膛徹底 , 凹唇,凸底,底刻"同治年"橢圓單框橫向楷書款
    高﹕ 6.73 厘米
    口徑/唇徑: 0.63/1.85 厘米
    蓋﹕ 翡翠; 銀座


    Harry Ross
    倫敦佳士得, 19 June 1978, 拍賣品號 179

    Treasury 7, 編號 1479

    這是典型的竹節材鼻煙壺。 是採用靠近地面的短節,兩正面是不規整的兩片橫膜形成的,橫膜與莖壁的分界很清楚,橫膜有時候是凹形的,如這件鼻煙壺的兩面可以起鼻煙碟的作用。

    Harry Ross 主要是1960年代收藏鼻煙壺的。他家離莫士撝家只有一英里,莫士撝跟他常常聚會。Ross 氏錢財有限,珍藏不大,但那時期只要有熱心和鑒賞力,精美的煙壺還是可以撿拾到的。星期六,莫士撝拜訪溫布爾登市波托貝洛路,一定會發現幾件多數古董商新買來的鼻煙壺精品。
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