Qing dynasty, 1760-1880 Of compressed form with a flat lip and recessed oval foot, the almost transparent body with a natural white band framed by dark brown borders at the waist, the body of a light coffee brown hue. 5.7cm high.
Such naturally decorated agate snuff bottles are skilfully made from a large enough piece with crystallised areas of relatively even bands of different tones encircling horizontally. For other banded agate snuff bottles, see Moss, Graham and Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles: The Mary and George Bloch Collection, Vol.2, Quartz, Hong Kong, 1998, pp.50-117, no.198, 219, 221 and 223, where the authors discuss the association of the contrast between the translucent agate and the dark and light bands with traditional Chinese philosophy and symbolism.
The visual impact evokes the image of an official wearing a jade belt which symbolises smooth promotion through the ranks, whereas the aesthetics of simplicity reflect the Buddhist or Daoist teachings of enlightenment. For other examples, see Robert Kleiner, Chinese Snuff Bottles - The White Wings Collection, 1997, p.159, no.106. see also Clare Lawrence, Miniature Masterpieces from the Middle Kingdom - The Monimar Collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles, 1996, pp. 120-121, no.54.126; and Verene Nicollier, The Baur Collection: Chinese Snuff Bottles, Geneva, 2007, pp.288-289, no.H128.
此件透明瑪瑙鼻煙壺，屬於一批專門以玉髓天然玉帶紋理作修飾的作品，並被初步推定為造辦處加工或是專門為宮廷製作的鼻煙壺。瑪麗及莊智博藏鼻煙壺中另外四件用瑪瑙玉帶紋作裝飾作品，見莫士撝, Victor Graham 及曾嘉寶著，《A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles: The Mary and George Bloch Collection 》，第2冊，第一部份，頁50-117，編號198，219,221,223，作者在書中指出此類玉帶紋飾可能是象徵官服上代表升官進爵的玉帶，另外一方面，其簡潔的自然美也正好符合中國傳統的哲學和審美觀。其他類似的例子可參看Robert Kleiner著，《Chinese Snuff Bottles - The White Wings Collection》，1997年，頁159，編號106； Clare Lawrence，《Miniature Masterpieces from the Middle Kingdom - The Monimar Collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles》, 1996年，頁120-121，編號54.126，以及Verene Nicollier，《The Baur Collection Geneva, Chinese Snuff Bottles》，2007年，頁288-289，編號H128。
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