An inside-painted crystal 'landscape' snuff bottle   Zhou Leyuan, The Studio of Lotus-root Fragrance, Xuannan, Beijing, dated 1885 (the bottle: 1780–1870)
Lot 61
An inside-painted crystal 'landscape' snuff bottle Zhou Leyuan, The Studio of Lotus-root Fragrance, Xuannan, Beijing, dated 1885 (the bottle: 1780–1870)
Sold for HK$ 87,500 (US$ 11,290) inc. premium
Lot Details
An inside-painted crystal 'landscape' snuff bottle
Zhou Leyuan, The Studio of Lotus-root Fragrance, Xuannan, Beijing, dated 1885 (the bottle: 1780–1870)
Sold with accompanying watercolour by Peter Suart
5.9cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 4, no. 471

    雙連水晶內畫山水鼻煙壺
    壺﹕1780~1870
    內畫﹕周樂元,藕香書軒,宣南房舍,北京,1885年

    An inside-painted 'children gone wild' snuff bottle

    Crystal, ink, and watercolours; a double bottle with flat double lip, each separate segment with a flat, truncated foot; painted on one outer main side with a group of five children in a classroom playing as their teacher comes into view through the window, two playing blindman's buff, and three acting out a scene of bringing a lawsuit to judgment, with the miscreant kneeling in front of the 'magistrate' in his mandarin's hat (and pretending to smoke a pipe), the desk around which they play set with a brush pot with brushes, an inkstone and a set of books, the other outer main side with a river landscape in which a scholar sits reading at the window of a country retreat while two others wait on the path below for a ferryman who is punting his boat near to them, inscribed in draft script '[Executed] in a winter month in the year yiyou by Zhou Leyuan', followed by one illegible seal of the artist
    Bottle: 1780–1870
    Painting: Zhou Leyuan, The Studio of Lotus-root Fragrance, Xuannan, Beijing, winter, 1885
    Height: 5.9 cm
    Mouths/lips: 0.58/2.20 and 3.80 cm (overall width of double lip)
    Stoppers: carnelian; vinyl collars

    Condition: Bottle: outer lips possibly slightly reduced to remove chips, but if so, evenly done. Painting: studio condition

    Illustration: watercolour by Peter Suart

    Provenance:
    Sotheby's, New York, 1 July 1985, lot 259 (second item in lot)

    Published:
    Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 313
    Treasury 4, no. 471

    Exhibited:
    Hong Kong Museum of Art, March–June 1994
    National Museum, Singapore, November 1994–February 1995
    Christie's, London, 1999

    This is the only recorded double bottle by Zhou Leyuan, and it was probably an existing, older bottle that he acquired for painting, possibly via a patron. With a double bottle of this kind, where two main faces offer no practical surface for inside painting, there is no point in ordering it specially. The artist can still only get pictures on two main sides, so why go to all the trouble of having the more expensive double bottle made? The only other possibility is a patron who particularly wanted to combine a double bottle of this sort with paintings by Zhou Leyuan, but if that were the case, he would have been better to put his two containers side-by-side, offering four main surfaces, as Ma Shaoxuan and other Zhou Leyuan School artists did from time to time. The surface of the crystal is also covered with tiny, natural scratches acquired through use, which would have been unlikely to accrue in the shorter time since 1885, especially in a bottle that is in such remarkable condition and seems never to have been used or even filled with snuff.

    雙連水晶內畫嬰戲圖鼻煙壺

    水晶、墨、水彩;雙連煙壺,平唇,各壺有平底,一面內畫五嬰喧鬧活潑,老師正從外邊回教室的景色,另一面內畫待渡圖,上題"乙酉冬月周樂元" ,後加字跡模糊的印
    壺﹕1780–1870
    畫﹕周樂元,藕香書軒,宣南房舍,北京,1885年冬
    高﹕5.9 厘米
    口徑/唇徑: 0.58/2.20 及 3.80 厘米 (橫雙連唇)
    蓋﹕紅白玉髓; 乙烯基座 s

    狀態敘述:壺﹕唇外緣或有剜去缺口之處,非常整齊。內畫﹕出齋狀態

    帶有彼德小話 (Peter Suart) 水彩畫

    來源:
    紐約蘇富比,1 July 1985, 拍賣品號 259 (second item in lot)

    文獻﹕
    Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, 編號 313
    Treasury 4, 編號 471

    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
    倫敦佳士得,1999年

    這是已知周樂元唯一的雙連鼻煙壺,肯定是比較舊的;雖然好像從未存鼻煙,水晶的表面卻是布滿纖細的抓痕的,大概不可能是1885年以後才劃的。
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