A very fine and rare embellished gilt-bronze oblong octagonal 'European landscape' snuff box and cover Qianlong, circa 1740-1760
Lot 15
A very fine and rare embellished gilt-bronze oblong octagonal 'European landscape' snuff box and cover
Qianlong, circa 1740-1760
Sold for HK$ 1,060,000 (US$ 136,664) inc. premium

Lot Details
A very fine and rare embellished gilt-bronze oblong octagonal 'European landscape' snuff box and cover Qianlong, circa 1740-1760 A very fine and rare embellished gilt-bronze oblong octagonal 'European landscape' snuff box and cover Qianlong, circa 1740-1760 A very fine and rare embellished gilt-bronze oblong octagonal 'European landscape' snuff box and cover Qianlong, circa 1740-1760 A very fine and rare embellished gilt-bronze oblong octagonal 'European landscape' snuff box and cover Qianlong, circa 1740-1760 A very fine and rare embellished gilt-bronze oblong octagonal 'European landscape' snuff box and cover Qianlong, circa 1740-1760 A very fine and rare embellished gilt-bronze oblong octagonal 'European landscape' snuff box and cover Qianlong, circa 1740-1760 A very fine and rare embellished gilt-bronze oblong octagonal 'European landscape' snuff box and cover Qianlong, circa 1740-1760 A very fine and rare embellished gilt-bronze oblong octagonal 'European landscape' snuff box and cover Qianlong, circa 1740-1760 A very fine and rare embellished gilt-bronze oblong octagonal 'European landscape' snuff box and cover Qianlong, circa 1740-1760 A very fine and rare embellished gilt-bronze oblong octagonal 'European landscape' snuff box and cover Qianlong, circa 1740-1760 A very fine and rare embellished gilt-bronze oblong octagonal 'European landscape' snuff box and cover Qianlong, circa 1740-1760 A very fine and rare embellished gilt-bronze oblong octagonal 'European landscape' snuff box and cover Qianlong, circa 1740-1760 A very fine and rare embellished gilt-bronze oblong octagonal 'European landscape' snuff box and cover Qianlong, circa 1740-1760
A very fine and rare embellished gilt-bronze oblong octagonal 'European landscape' snuff box and cover
Qianlong, circa 1740-1760
Formed in three tiers and thickly gilt, the cover with a cartouche depicting two sheep grazing on a terrace with distant huts and towers, framed within alternating seed pearl and red paste embellishments, the interior tier displaying a scene of two lovers seated above rockworks in courtship beneath a willow tree and beside a pavilion in various-coloured enamels, the side with an ornate decorative latch with floral patterns intricately inset with seed pearls, ruby-like and emerald-coloured embellishments, above elaborate European-style landscape repoussé panels within billowing textile and geometric borders, decorated with animals amongst European structures at the axis, the base engraved with floral scrolls and sprays.
7.3cm wide; 6.3cm deep; 3.6cm high. (2).

Footnotes

  • 清乾隆 約1740-1760年 銅鎏金雙羊圖鼻煙盒

    It is very rare to find Canton snuff boxes with an internal painted textile panel. The Western tradition is to add an enamel painting to the outside (or, less often, the inside) of the box frame; see for example lot 1 in this sale, for a conventional Western-style design interpreted by a Canton enameller. An unprotected painted textile panel is infinitely more fragile, and also suggests that the box may have been used to contain an ingredient which would not stain the painting. For another example of a Chinese painting on silk incorporated into a small Canton box, in this case made of painted ivory, see the gilt-bronze and ivory triple-circle box sold at Paris at Piasa, 14 June 2012, lot 297 (sold for EUR1,351,070). This present lot relates to other fine-quality Canton boxes with repoussé and chased landscape decoration, such as the hardstone oval silver box illustrated by John Devereux Kernan, The Chait Collection of Chinese Export Silver, New York, 1985, no.284, though the silver one is less impressive quality since it was intended for the foreign market.

    During the first quarter of the 18th century, snuff boxes produced in England were usually rectangular, oval or bow-fronted in form, and the decoration if any was generally confined to an emblazoned coat-of-arms or an elegantly-engraved monogram; see A.Kenneth Snowman, Eighteenth Century Gold Boxes of Europe, p.93. This suggests that an elaborate Canton box such as the present lot is very unlikely to predate about 1730-40. In fact, the author also records that shaped boxes elaborately embossed with groups in relief, enacting classical or mythological scenes became fashionable about the middle of the 18th century: op.cit., p.93. See a comparable tribute snuff box attributed to the Swiss master craftsmen with similar designs of relief at the cover, currently preserved in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, illustrated by Hou, Yi-Li, Lifting the Spirit and Body: The Art and Culture of Snuff Bottles, Taipei, 2012, pp.58-59, no.I-002.

    For an octagonal silver box decorated in enamelled and repoussé work, attributed to the Yongzheng period, see Tributes from Guangdong to the Qing Court, op.cit., p.81, col.pl.40.

    蓋盒呈四方倭角形,除蓋面八邊嵌以一周紅、白閃料石,及以珠、料石嵌出花卉紋開關外,整件鼻煙盒成雕金浮雕效果,華麗精緻。蓋面以開光建築物及雙羊圖為主題,其壁延續此主題,間隔裝飾帶狀紋,底部則刻有纏枝花卉紋。此鼻煙盒有兩層上掀蓋,因此分有兩層,打開雕金蓋盒後,會發現蓋底為鏡片,暗藏另一面蓋面,為透明玻璃隔以設色人物圖,一男一女在庭院中依偎著,人物表情生動,畫法精約,彩色豐富,因兩蓋面相隔空間較少,相信透明玻璃一面是吸聞鼻煙時,暫擺方鼻煙之用,而下層空間較大,相信此為存放鼻煙之位置也。整體設計周到,閃閃生輝,結合多種不同工藝,匠心獨韻,實屬珍品。

    一般來說,鼻煙盒之設計以於蓋面上繪畫者為多,例子有本專拍中拍品編號1,此仍受西方設計之影響也。如本拍品般,於盒內藏一畫作甚為罕有,為免影響畫作,盒內存放之物必須不會染色。在18世紀早期,英國等地製作之鼻煙盒多以長方形、橢圓形為主,以徽章或藝術字為飾,本拍品之設計及製作工藝上,很有可能是參考了這時期外國進口之蓋盒。台北國立故宮博物院藏之雕金音樂盒便是一例 (fig.1),見侯怡利編:《通嚏輕揚-鼻煙壺文化特展》,台北,2012年,頁58-59,編號I-002。
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