An agate 'purse' snuff bottle Possibly Imperial, Official School, 1730–1850
Lot 73Y
An agate 'purse' snuff bottle Possibly Imperial, Official School, 1730–1850
Sold for HK$ 50,000 (US$ 6,448) inc. premium
Lot Details
An agate 'purse' snuff bottle
Possibly Imperial, Official School, 1730–1850
4.61cm high.


  • Treasury 2, no. 344


    An agate 'purse' snuff bottle

    Agate; extremely well hollowed, with a flat lip and very slightly concave foot; carved in the form of a fabric purse, gathered at the neck
    Possibly Imperial, Official School, 1730–1850
    Height: 4.61 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.72/1.89 and 1.62 cm (oval)
    Stopper: coral; turquoise finial; stained bone or ivory collar

    Condition: Barely perceptible chip to outer lip; small crack inner lip, possible natural flaw; otherwise, workshop condition

    Sotheby's, London, 2 May 1985, lot 428

    Kleiner 1995, no. 259
    Treasury 2, no. 344

    British Museum, London, June–October 1995
    Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997

    This is one of a series of bottles of purse or pouch form based on the popular belt-purses worn as part of Qing official paraphernalia. This example is well carved and hollowed, and also appears to have been made originally in this form. In recent years, old plain agate and chalcedony bottles have been re-carved in China and Hong Kong to make them more saleable. Among them is a series of pleated purses of this type. This example is unusual in the manner in which the pleats have been carved. No. 239 represents the standard way of pleating the shoulders for a hardstone simulation of a purse, with a series of channels carved vertically from the neck to about the mid-way point of the body where they peter out to blend with the plain surface of the lower area. Here the process is quite the opposite and more painstaking. A series of raised pleats has been left in relief and then the larger gaps between them have been scalloped out with concave curves. Both peter out at about the same point, but it is a quite different idea of arriving at a similar visual effect. This example is also unusually small for the shape, the standard being closer to no. 239.

    Bottles of this form appear to have been made by the Official School, possibly at the court workshops, but they may also have been made elsewhere as we believe that the Official School represents a genre of bottle made in a variety of different workshops rather than a group produced by a single workshop (see discussion under no. 258).

    There is an example of this form in banded agate in the Imperial collection (Gugong bowuyuan 1995, no. 138). For a portrait of an official wearing pouches and taking snuff from a bottle held in his hand, see Snuff Bottles of the Ch'ing Dynasty, front cover).


    或為御製品,頒賜品, 1730–1850
    高﹕ 4.61 厘米
    口徑/唇徑: 0.72/1.89 及 1.62 厘米 (橢圓形)
    蓋﹕ 珊瑚;綠松石頂飾,染色骨或染色象雅座


    倫敦蘇富比,1985年5月2日,拍賣品號 428

    Kleiner 1995, 編號 259
    Treasury 2, 編號 344

    大英博物館, 1995年6月~10月
    Israel Museum, 耶路撒冷,1997年7月~月11月


    Treasury 2, 編號239代表玉石綬囊打襉法的規格,從頸到腹中部刻有縱向的凹槽;本壺的刻法比較費力,是浮雕的褶襉之間琢磨微凸形的地。Treasury 2, 編號239 的大小也是比較一般的,本壺卻是綬囊形煙壺中相當小的。

    故宮珍藏有瑪瑙玉帶紋的例子 (故宮博物院 1995, 編號138)。
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