A crystal 'cicada' snuff bottle Possibly Imperial, 1740–1850
Lot 50
A crystal 'cicada' snuff bottle Possibly Imperial, 1740–1850
Sold for HK$ 100,000 (US$ 12,896) inc. premium
Lot Details
A crystal 'cicada' snuff bottle
Possibly Imperial, 1740–1850
5.4cm long.


  • Treasury 2, no. 343


    A crystal 'cicada' snuff bottle

    Crystal; well hollowed and carved in the form of a formalized cicada, a 'C'-scroll carved between the wings on its upper back
    Possibly Imperial, 1740–1850
    Length: 5.4 cm
    Mouth: 0.46 cm
    Stopper: pearl; glass collar

    Condition: Minor chip on the fold below the left eye of the cicada; otherwise, workshop condition

    Hugh Moss
    Paula J. Hallett
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd. (1986)

    Snuff Bottles of the Ch'ing Dynasty, no. 189
    Kleiner 1987, no. 138
    Treasury 2, no. 343

    Hong Kong Museum of Art, October–December 1978
    Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987
    Creditanstalt, Vienna, May–June 1993

    The series of bags beneath the eye, repeating the lower curve of the eye itself three times, appears also on the unusual smoky-amethyst example with tourmaline needles, Sale 2, lot 34, which is stylistically so similar in many ways that it must be from the same workshop, probably the same hand.

    Among the creature-form snuff bottles, the cicada ranks as one of the more popular. It enjoyed both potent longevity symbolism and association with the ancient culture, since it appeared commonly in burials and was a widely used decorative motif on ancient bronzes (see discussions, Sale 4, lot 22, and Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, nos. 7 and 8, although the larvae stage of the creature's development was wrongly stated under no. 7). Another reason for its popularity as a snuff bottle was its suitability as a snuff-bottle form, which is discussed under Sale 2, lot 34.

    The hollowing of this bottle is extremely clever. By leaving a very thick wall in the winged area, the carver has cancelled out the effects of foreshortening the wings. With the transparency of the material, the carver was able to give the impression from the main view, looking down on the back, that the wings extend beyond the body more than they do, leaving the hollowing to read as the body seen through the wings, which are also transparent in real life.


    水晶; 掏膛徹底,雕形式化的蟬子,背上部有一個雲紋
    長: 5.4 厘米
    口徑﹕ 0.46 厘米
    蓋﹕ 珍珠;玻璃座

    狀態敘述: 蟬子左眼下呈微乎其微的缺口;此外,出坊狀態

    Hugh Moss
    Paula J. Hallett
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd. (1986)

    Snuff bottles of the Ch'ingDynasty, 編號 189
    Kleiner 1987, 編號 138
    Treasury 2, 編號 343

    Sydney L. Moss Ltd.,倫敦,1987年10月
    Creditanstalt, 維也納, 1993年5月~6月

    雙眼下琢三道眼袋,第二場拍賣會, 拍賣品號 34, 呈現同樣的眼袋,這兩件或許是同一個作坊製作的。


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