A white nephrite 'orchids' snuff bottle Possibly Suzhou, 1644–1770 (conversion: 1750–1940)
Lot 93
A white nephrite 'orchids' snuff bottle Possibly Suzhou, 1644–1770 (conversion: 1750–1940)
Sold for HK$ 150,000 (US$ 19,335) inc. premium

Lot Details
A white nephrite 'orchids' snuff bottle Possibly Suzhou, 1644–1770 (conversion: 1750–1940) A white nephrite 'orchids' snuff bottle Possibly Suzhou, 1644–1770 (conversion: 1750–1940) A white nephrite 'orchids' snuff bottle Possibly Suzhou, 1644–1770 (conversion: 1750–1940) A white nephrite 'orchids' snuff bottle Possibly Suzhou, 1644–1770 (conversion: 1750–1940) A white nephrite 'orchids' snuff bottle Possibly Suzhou, 1644–1770 (conversion: 1750–1940)
A white nephrite 'orchids' snuff bottle
Possibly Suzhou, 1644–1770 (conversion: 1750–1940)
6.31cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 1, no. 116

    白玉蘭花鼻煙壺
    或為蘇作,1644~1770 (改造成煙壺﹕1750~1940)

    A nephrite 'orchids' snuff bottle

    Nephrite; not very well hollowed; carved with a continuous design of orchids growing near a convoluted rock formation, incised in seal script 'The character of a perfect gentleman [stands out] at the end of an era'
    Original form: possibly Suzhou, 1644–1770
    Conversion: 1750–1940
    Height: 6.31 cm
    Mouth: 0.42 cm
    Stopper: coral, carved as a segment of lotus-root; gilt-metal collar

    Condition: Slight abrasive flattening on one edge of bottle beside lip, raising the likelihood that it is a converted pendant; barely perceptible nibbles to inner lip; otherwise, workshop condition

    Provenance:
    Zhirou Zhai Collection
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd. (Hong Kong, 1993)

    Published:
    Kleiner 1995, no. 74
    Treasury 1, no. 116

    Exhibited:
    British Museum, June–October 1995

    Whether or not this was originally conceived as a snuff bottle is questionable. The form is perhaps more likely as a snuff bottle than as a pendant, although the detailing of the neck suggests a conversion, as there is the hint of a depression to one side of the mouth that might have provided the original channel for a cord. The other indication of a conversion is to be found in the hollowing, which, while functional, does not follow the outer profile of the bottle and is out of keeping with the extraordinary quality and devotion to detail of the exterior carving.

    Setting aside the question of its history, this snuff bottle, as a work of art, is of superlative quality. The material is as white as can be reasonably expected of nephrite, and it is flawless except for a tiny area on one narrow side of the bottle, which has been perfectly incorporated into the design as the stems of the flowering orchid plant.

    白玉蘭花鼻煙壺

    白玉;掏膛不太規整;雕通體蘭花奇石圖,刻"□□君子性"
    原器﹕或為蘇作,1644–1770
    改造成煙壺﹕1750–1940
    高﹕ 6.31 厘米
    口徑﹕ 0.42 厘米
    蓋﹕珊瑚雕蓮藕;鎏金座

    狀態敘述:近唇處有微乎其微的磨平的地方,因而可推猜這原來是佩 ,唇內沿有幾乎看不見的咬痕;此外,出坊狀態

    來源:
    知柔齋珍藏
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd. (Hong Kong, 1993)

    文獻﹕
    Kleiner 1995, 編號 74
    Treasury 1, 編號 116

    展覽﹕
    大英博物館, 1995年6月~10月

    "□□君子性"好像應該識讀為"世癸君子性",我們曾經猜是"世末,君子的性格就會顯露",但第一個字也有一點像芝字的篆體,"芝蘭君子性"而"芝蘭君子性,松柏古人心"則是中國古代常見的對聯。不過,第二個字很像癸字,一點也不類蘭字。待考。

    本壺的膛壁薄厚不一致,不符合器表的琢碾質量,這也表明本件原來不是鼻煙壺。不管怎麼樣,這的的確確是佳玉,工藝是上等的。
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