A nephrite pebble-material 'beast' snuff bottle 1700–1850
Lot 47
A nephrite pebble-material 'beast' snuff bottle 1700–1850
Sold for HK$ 200,000 (US$ 25,780) inc. premium

Lot Details
A nephrite pebble-material 'beast' snuff bottle 1700–1850 A nephrite pebble-material 'beast' snuff bottle 1700–1850 A nephrite pebble-material 'beast' snuff bottle 1700–1850 A nephrite pebble-material 'beast' snuff bottle 1700–1850 A nephrite pebble-material 'beast' snuff bottle 1700–1850
A nephrite pebble-material 'beast' snuff bottle
1700–1850
6.2cm long.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 1, no. 47

    青白玉帶皮獸形鼻煙壺

    A nephrite pebble-material 'beast' snuff bottle

    Nephrite of pebble material; well hollowed and carved in the form of a reclining beast, possibly intended to be a tiger
    1700–1850
    Length: 6.2 cm
    Mouth: 0.42 cm
    Stopper: gilt-porcelain, moulded with a formalized floral design with integral finial and collar; by John Charlton, London, circa 1970

    Condition: Small chips between the two fangs of the beast and the side of the back foot, although possibly just flaws in the stone; otherwise, workshop condition

    Provenance:
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd. (London)
    J & J Collection
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd. (London, 1984)
    Robert Hall (1984)

    Published:
    Kleiner 1995, no. 92
    JICSBS, Winter 2000, p. 11
    Treasury 1, no. 47

    Exhibited:
    British Museum, June–October 1995
    Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1997

    This is of the same material as Auction 1, lot 75; Auction 3, lot 1; and Auction 4, lot 153,and it may possibly be of the same group as the Master of the Rocks school, but this is difficult to determine without any of the landscape, myth and genre detail that are, apart from the use of this material, the main characteristics of the school. It is probably more likely that it is simply similar material crafted somewhere else.

    The beast is probably intended to be a tiger, but it may also be a dog, although its large claws and enormous fangs would make it a pretty terrifying one. With an unusual sculpture like this, particularly in an ancient-looking material (part of the pebble skin is naturally calcified in much the same way as burial jades are after centuries in the earth), there is always the possibility that it is an earlier free-standing sculpture, perhaps a scholar's plaything or paperweight. Three factors suggest that it is not. The material is none too common in pre-Qing jade carving (although see a magnificent monkey and peach from the McElney Collection attributable to the Yuan or Ming period and illustrated in colour by Watt 1980, no. 69). The style of carving, with the realistically depicted beast lying straight out with its tail curled back in a rigid line along its backbone, would be highly unlikely for a non-snuff bottle. Free-standing creatures of this ilk, whether earlier or even Qing, tend to be less formally sculpted, their tails to one side or other of their flanks. They also have a greater feeling of realism to the pose, whereas here the form is ideal for a snuff bottle but perhaps awkward as an independent animal sculpture. The mouth of the bottle fits almost perfectly into the mouth of the beast, which would be open too wide for a formal sculpture that was not intended as a bottle, and the upper lip is very slightly curved around the upper curve of the mouth of the bottle. It could have been made at any time from the early eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century.

    The naturalness of the skin colour here is beyond doubt. It has immense character, is full of flaws and variations in the texture and colour, and sinks into the stone to a far greater extent than an artificial surface colouring.

    青白玉帶皮獸形鼻煙壺

    卵石料; 掏膛徹底 ,雕趴在地下的一隻獸,也許是老虎
    1700–1850
    長: 6.2 厘米
    口徑﹕ 0.42 厘米
    蓋﹕鎏金瓷胎,模製形式化的花朵,與頂飾、座為一體;由 John Charlton 作於倫敦,約1970年

    狀態敘述:獠牙之間和後足一邊都有小缺口,但有可能不過是石料的瑕疵;此外,出窯狀態

    來源:
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd. (London)
    J & J Collection
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd. (London, 1984)
    羅伯特.霍爾 (1984)

    文獻﹕
    Kleiner 1995, 編號 92
    《國際中國鼻煙壺協會的學術期刊》, Winter 2000, p. 11
    Treasury 1, 編號 47

    展覽﹕
    大英博物館, 1995年6月~10月
    Israel Museum, 耶路撒冷,1997年

    本壺的質料跟 第一場拍賣會, 拍賣品號 75; 第三場拍賣會,品號 1; 及 第四場拍賣會,拍賣品號 153 是一樣的。這隻獸大概不是狗,因為獠牙和爪實在是太可怕的了。我們認為這不是原來的玉獸件轉化成煙壺。這種玉質地在清以前的玉件是不常見的 (但是,有應屬元或明朝的 Watt 1980, 編號 69)。而且,除了鼻煙壺以外,獸件具有這樣的對稱特性也是稀罕的。本壺肯定是從十八世紀早期到十九世紀中葉 任何時候作的。

    這件壺的皮的顏色毫無疑問是天然的。它有特殊的性質、多樣的顏色和質地,而顏色沁透石中比人工沁染深入得多。
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