A feathers-on-silver snuff bottle Guangchang and Luen Wo, Shanghai, 1870–1912
Lot 164
A feathers-on-silver snuff bottle Guangchang and Luen Wo, Shanghai, 1870–1912
Sold for HK$ 150,000 (US$ 19,343) inc. premium
Lot Details
A feathers-on-silver snuff bottle
Guangchang and Luen Wo, Shanghai, 1870–1912
8.31 cm high (including original stopper).


  • Treasury 7, no. 1666

    Guangchang 及 Luen Wo,上海,1870~1912

    A feathers-on-silver snuff bottle

    Silver, and feathers of two colours (from the kingfisher and probably from the blue jay); with a very narrow flat lip and protruding flat foot; the silver body divided by raised horizontal ribs into three main registers, each filled with a formalized floral design in flat, shaped segments surrounded by twisted wires and filled with feathers, with some details in silver wire without feathers, a base band of continuous leiwen (thunder pattern) in both turquoise blue and purple feathers below the three main registers, above which a shoulder and neck design in raised wire features formalized flowers with the feathers inlaid to provide a background colour; the foot inscribed in regular script with a stamped seal, Guangchang (Extensive Prosperity), and, in Roman letters, 'LW', also as a stamped seal
    Guangchang and Luen Wo, Shanghai, 1870–1912
    Height: 8.31 cm (including original stopper)
    Mouth/lip: 1.56/1.76 cm
    Stopper: silver and feathers, with a raised-wire formalized floral design on a ground of feathers in two colours; with integral hollow 'cork' and spoon; original

    Inevitable losses of some of the feather inlays and minor surface wear to the protruding silver; the stopper has lost more of the feather inlays than the bottle. General relative condition: unusually good

    Lydia Tovey
    Sotheby's, London, 28 April 1987, lot 692

    Arts of Asia, September–October 1990, p. 90
    Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 286
    Kleiner 1995, no. 368
    Treasury 7, no. 1666

    Hong Kong Museum of Art, March–June 1994
    National Museum of Singapore, November 1994–January 1995
    British Museum, London, June–October 1995
    Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997

    The LW stamp stands for Luen Wo, a Shanghai retailing company selling the wares of various silversmiths during the last decades of the Qing dynasty. This piece was made for export, as indicated by its stamp in Roman lettering, and its excellent condition probably reflects the fact that it was taken straight to Europe and spent most of its life displayed among other curios from the East.

    The original stopper is of unusual construction. All in silver, the spoon is fixed directly to the underside of the collar, while the 'cork' consists of a thin, hollow cylindrical section soldered around it, making the underside of the stopper a sort of inverted cup. Presumably, this was done to save silver, since making it solid would have required a good deal more metal; it would have also made the bottle top-heavy. The stopper as it stands is functional, but the inverted 'cup' would tend to accumulate snuff when the bottle was tipped and then spill the precious powder when it was removed from the bottle. Had the bottle been made as a functional vessel rather than as a curio for export, surely a little extra labour and silver would have been invested to add a sheet of silver closing off the bottom of the 'cork'.

    The construction is the same as for so many bottles, and proves how useful across the arts was this method of two-part construction, whether a mould was used or not. The silver has obviously been beaten into shape (possibly using a mould) as two separate halves that were then soldered together, joining vertically. The cylindrical neck and protruding foot would have been added afterwards.

    An obviously related bottle from the same workshop, although of a different form, was in Sotheby's, London, 24 April 1989, lot 68.


    銀、二色羽毛(翠羽和推測為某種松鴉的羽毛);狹窄平唇,突出平底;壺身分成三帶,其中以銀絲及銀絞合線作出花葉紋,底戳印"廣昌"和羅馬字 LW 二印
    Guangchang 及 Luen Wo, 上海,1870–1912
    高﹕ 8.31 厘米(包括原件的蓋)
    口徑/唇徑: 1.56/1.76 厘米


    Lydia Tovey
    倫敦蘇富比,1987年4月28日,拍賣品號 692

    Arts of Asia, September–October 1990, p. 90
    Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, 編號 286
    Kleiner 1995, 編號 368
    Treasury 7, 編號 1666

    National Museum of Singapore, November 1994–January 1995
    大英博物館, 1995年6月~10月
    Israel Museum, 耶路撒冷,1997年7月~月11月

    LW 印屬於上海 Luen Wo 公司,是清末轉賣多數銀匠的產出品的公司。
    同作坊的一件相關的鼻煙壺有倫敦蘇富比,1989年4月24日,拍賣品號 68。