A white nephrite 'chi dragon' snuff bottle 1730-1790
Lot 6
A white nephrite 'chi dragon' snuff bottle 1730-1790
Sold for HK$ 187,500 (US$ 24,193) inc. premium
Lot Details
A white nephrite 'chi dragon' snuff bottle
1730-1790
7.31cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 1, no. 92

    白玉雕螭龍戲珠鼻煙壺

    A nephrite 'chi dragon' snuff bottle

    Nephrite; very well hollowed, with a concave foot; carved with a continuous design of a chi dragon chasing a flaming pearl, with clouds arising from behind its head
    Probably Imperial, attributable to the palace workshops, Beijing, 1720-1795
    Height: 7.31 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.62/1.10 cm
    Stopper: coral; turquoise collar

    Condition: Miniscule chips around outer lip, one tiny bruise to outer lip; small chips on both curled tips of the dragon's tail; otherwise, workshop condition

    Provenance:
    Robert Hall (1985)

    Published:
    Treasury 1, no. 92

    Exhibited:
    Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1997

    The attribution to the palace workshops here is supported by a number of factors. The bottle is hollowed through a wide mouth and the hollowing stops near the base, leaving a heavy foot (visible as a slight change in colour in the illustration), both features associated with Imperial production from the palace workshops. It is also from a range of undistinguished-looking nephrite which was obviously favoured by the Qianlong emperor, along with other more inherently valuable materials.

    The relatively dull material of this bottle, which without the carving would create little excitement, is a lesson in art: it is not the material used that makes art, but what is done with the material. Certainly a brilliant yellow or pure white material would make the same carving more valuable, but it would not improve it as sculpture, and therefore as art. The sculptural appeal of this bottle is impressive. The sensual curve of the profile is ideally matched by the placing of the beast and the pearl, the latter particularly taking on an extraordinary jewel-like quality by being almost entirely in the round and sitting sufficiently close to the neck that, viewed straight-on, it rises above the profile of the shoulders to offset the body of the dragon at the opposite, lower corner. It is also, despite the high relief of the pearl, an extremely comfortable bottle to hold in the hand, with the thumb naturally falling upon the pearl, allowing its smooth roundness to be fondled like a real pearl.


    白玉螭龍戲珠鼻煙壺

    閃玉,掏膛極其規整,凹底;雕通體螭龍戲珠紋
    擬為御製品,大概為宮廷作坊製品,北京,1720-1795
    高﹕ 7.31 厘米
    口徑/唇徑: 0.62/1.10 厘米
    蓋﹕ 珊瑚; 綠松石座

    狀態敘述:唇外緣呈微乎其微的缺口及一個小擦傷,螭尾兩端也呈小缺口;此外,出坊狀態

    來源:
    羅伯特.霍爾 (1985)

    文獻﹕
    Treasury 1, 編號 92

    展覽﹕
    Israel Museum, 耶路撒冷,1997年

    本壺口寬,底厚,玉料的質色是普通的,這都意味著它大概是宮廷作坊製作的。可以從雕塑的審美角度來看,確確實實是傑出的作品。在手裏拿之,給人的感受也是很順意的。
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