A nephrite 'chi and lingzhi handles' snuff bottle Imperial, attributable to the palace workshops, Beijing, Qianlong wheel-cut four-character seal mark and of the period,  1736–1799
Lot 57
A nephrite 'chi and lingzhi handles' snuff bottle Imperial, attributable to the palace workshops, Beijing, Qianlong wheel-cut four-character seal mark and of the period, 1736–1799
Sold for HK$ 250,000 (US$ 32,250) inc. premium
Lot Details
A nephrite 'chi and lingzhi handles' snuff bottle
Imperial, attributable to the palace workshops, Beijing, Qianlong wheel-cut four-character seal mark and of the period, 1736–1799
5.04cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 1, no. 103

    白玉靈芝耳鼻煙壺
    御製品,傳宮廷作坊作,北京,刻「乾隆年製」篆書款,1736~1799

    A nephrite 'chi and lingzhi handled' snuff bottle

    Nephrite; well hollowed, with a deeply recessed foot; carved with chi-mask handles, the usual rings replaced by twinned, formalized lingzhi motifs, the foot incised in seal script, Qianlong nian zhi ('Made in the Qianlong era')
    Imperial, attributable to the palace workshops, Beijing, 1736–1799
    Height: 5.04 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.81/1.25 and 1.21 cm (oval)
    Stopper: tourmaline; vinyl collar

    Condition: Natural flaws in the material noticeable particularly on one narrow side; barely perceptible nibbles to inner lip; otherwise, workshop condition

    Provenance:
    Sotheby's, London, 7 June 1990, lot 335

    Published:
    Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 23
    Kleiner 1995, no. 39
    Treasury 1, no. 103

    Exhibited:
    Hong Kong Museum of Art, March–June 1994
    National Museum, Singapore, November 1994–February 1995
    British Museum, June–October 1995
    Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1997

    This understated but extremely elegant little bottle has a number of features that associate it with the palace workshops. It is small, well hollowed through a wide mouth, but leaving a heavy foot area (in this case, 0.73 cm deep). It has flat outer lips on the upper neck rim and the flared and deeply recessed foot that is also a tentative palace feature. The material is less flawed than with many examples attributable to the palace workshops, and the flaws are cleverly concentrated on one narrow side to minimize them. The mask handles have small, individualistic masks of considerable personality, while the rings have been replaced by a strange double floral motif. The mask handles, which are a feature of Imperial products of the eighteenth century, are distinguished by the frequent variation from the more standard patterns that appear to have governed these secondary details from other workshops. It is also notable that the few known mask-and-ring handles that have the rings replaced by other features or absent entirely tend to be attributable to the palace (see Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, no. 37). The form is yet another modified meiping ('prunus-blossom vase') typical of court production, and the sharply defined, deeply recessed, lipped foot refers, perhaps, to earlier vessels in bronze, again a key source of influence for palace artists of the Qianlong era.

    All of these features would dictate a reasonably confident attribution to the court workshops under the circumstances, but as a final endorsement there is inscribed one of the smallest, neatest, and most convincing palace reign marks known, which is remarkable considering the depth of the foot and the difficulty of access for the carver. For a very similar mark with only one variation in the formalization, see Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, no. 32.

    閃玉靈芝耳鼻煙壺

    閃玉;掏膛徹底,深斂底;雕螭首啣靈芝耳,底刻 "乾隆年製" 篆款
    御製品,推定為宮廷作坊作的,北京,1736–1799
    高﹕ 5.04 厘米
    口徑/唇徑: 0.81/1.25 及 1.21 厘米 (橢圓形)
    蓋﹕ 碧璽;乙烯基座

    狀態敘述:玉料呈綹紋,特別是在一側面,唇內緣有幾乎看不見的咬痕 ;此外,出坊狀態

    來源:
    倫敦蘇富比, 1990年6月7日,拍賣品號 335

    文獻﹕
    Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, 編號 23
    Kleiner 1995, 編號 39
    Treasury 1, 編號 103

    展覽﹕
    香港藝術館,1994年3月~6月
    National Museum of Singapore,1994年11月~1995年2月
    大英博物館, 1995年6月~10月
    Israel Museum, 耶路撒冷,1997年

    本壺規模小,口寬, 掏膛徹底,底厚 (0.73 厘米),應屬宮廷作坊。再者,口緣出平唇一圈,底深斂,圈足外撇,而這些都是我們的推測的旁證。 其他具與常規的獸首啣環不同的耳也多數擬為宮廷的製品(參閱Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, 編號 37)。

    這件文雅煙壺也刻有已知最小,最精細、最令人信服的年款之一,而且是在玉匠難以刻到的斂底中。相似的年款有Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, 編號 32.

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