A white nephrite 'cicada' snuff bottle 1700–1840
Lot 44
A white nephrite 'cicada' snuff bottle 1700–1840
Sold for HK$ 200,000 (US$ 25,806) inc. premium
Lot Details
A white nephrite 'cicada' snuff bottle
1700–1840
6.25cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 1, no. 31

    白玉蟬紋鼻煙壺

    A white nephrite 'cicada' snuff bottle

    Flawless nephrite; well hollowed, with a concave lip and concave foot surrounded by a flat footrim; each side carved to suggest that the form of the bottle is that of a cicada, with the highly stylized back of the insect on each side, its head towards the neck of the bottle, with a distinctly taotie- or dragon-like configuration culminating in a lingzhi-head jaw which also forms part of a more elaborate band of lingzhi-head design as a neck border
    1700–1840
    Height: 6.25 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.45/1.31 cm
    Stopper: green-stained chalcedony; silver collar

    Condition: Workshop condition

    Provenance:
    Christie's, Hong Kong, 16/17 January 1989, lot 485
    Zhirou Zhai Collection, Hong Kong
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd, Hong Kong, 1993

    Published:
    Treasury 1, no. 31

    The cicada was also a popular motif for the snuff bottle, often dictating the entire form of the bottle (see the fourth Bloch auction, lot 22), but also used as a decorative motif. This unique design bridges the gap between the two. The shape of the bottle is dictated by the shape of the cicada, although adapted for formal purity, but it is not a cicada-form bottle, since there are two insects involved, each viewed from the same angle, looking directly at the back of the insect. These are then joined at the edges of the wings, and metamorphose at the juncture of the two heads into a decorative border design. It is also a bizarre creature by normal standards because the head has a distinctly animal nose, resembling a taotie, although a clue to the meaning of this strange combination is offered by the fact that the two formalized 'C' curlicues on the back of the head extend into long, curving, horn-like extensions, giving the head a dragon-like appearance.

    The material here is flawless and comes close to the 'pure white' that is claimed, somewhat euphemistically, for so many white nephrite bottles. In fact, nephrite is never as white as chalk or a sheet of white paper and nearly always has a slight greenish or greyish tinge when compared with either. This bottle has a combination of modelled surfaces and incised lines which are ideally balanced. It is a 'secret' bottle, the design and meaning of the form being almost completely lost to view other than at close range. In the hand, however, it comes to life as a superbly controlled masterpiece of understated jade carving, with perfect formal integrity and fluid and confident carving of an intriguingly individual and imaginative design superimposed upon a flawless and delightful material.

    白玉蟬紋鼻煙壺

    無瑕閃玉;掏膛徹底 , 凹唇,凹底、平底圈足,兩面雕蟬背紋,蟬身呈仿古紋飾
    1700–1840
    高﹕ 6.25 厘米
    口徑/唇徑: 0.45/1.31 厘米
    蓋﹕ 沁染綠色的玉髓;銀座

    狀態敘述:出窯狀態

    來源:
    香港佳士得,1989年正月16、17日,拍賣品號 485
    知柔齋珍藏 ,香港
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd, Hong Kong, 1993

    文獻﹕
    Treasury 1, 編號 31

    蟬聯是鼻煙壺常見的圖案,有時整個壺身是蟬形 (參閱第四場拍賣會,拍賣品號 22)。這件孤身影單的煙壺是蟬形壺與蟬紋壺之間的橋梁。因為兩面都是兩隻蟬的背,不能算是蟬形壺,而壺形是蟬的模樣所決定的。蟬紋的細節有許多處是仿古青銅器紋飾。

    本壺的質料無瑕 、潔白, 是近乎照字面的"白玉"。雕琢的光素外表和陰刻的線條之間的均衡很理想,但只有仔細地看才能享受壺身上的圖案。拿起來欣賞就可以充分地意識到質料和修飾的優秀性質。


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