A fine and very rare relief-decorated silver-mounted gilt-bronze 'European subject' ruyi-head-shaped snuff box First half of the 18th century
Lot 6
A fine and very rare relief-decorated silver-mounted gilt-bronze 'European subject' ruyi-head-shaped snuff box
First half of the 18th century
HK$ 600,000 - 800,000
US$ 77,000 - 100,000
Lot Details
A fine and very rare relief-decorated silver-mounted gilt-bronze 'European subject' ruyi-head-shaped snuff box
First half of the 18th century
Elegantly cast in the form of a ruyi-head, one side featuring a metallic-embossed figure of an European lady wearing loose clothing and hair neatly tied in coiffure using a floral wreath, her left hand raised with an exotic bird perched with wings extended, an European gentleman admiring her from the right; the other side showing a farmer working in the fields, his right hand spreading seedlings and left hand holding a sickle, clearing weeds from the field with a jug and scythe beside him, the lobed sides further decorated with four lobed cartouches of birds perched on trees, the inside cover further bearing a scene of two figures seated atop rockworks within an alcove, indulging in a passionate kiss and flanked by a pair of doves.
10.2cm wide; 7cm deep; 3cm high.

Footnotes

  • 清十八世紀早期 銅鎏金嵌銀飾西洋人物如意形鼻煙盒

    This remarkable box is unusual in this Collection because the inspiration is rather more in Dutch than English taste. The Dutch did not, by and large, have a major influence on craftsmanship in Canton, although a number of Dutch points clearly influenced some of the potters creating Export porcelain for Westerners seeking shipments at Canton. However, the style of the clothes and the general feel of the depiction of the elegant foreigners suggest a Dutch design origin in the last decades of the 17th century.

    The suggestion of Dutch inspiration raises of course the possibility that this very rare box was influences by designs emanating from Batavia, the permanent Dutch trading entrepot on the north coast of Java since the early 17th century. The technique found on the present lot recalls the type of black-patinated and gilt wares, which some specialists believe were manufactured in Java, following a precedent set by the Japanese who are believed to have produced 'Sawasa-ware' since the 17th century. The Dutch-style boxes are made from copper alloy with gilt relief decoration and black lacquered highlights; in this they differ from the original Japanese 'shakudo', which refers to the copper alloy and gives a visibly different finish. For snuff boxes made by the Japanese for the Export trade, see the sale of Fine Silver and Gold Boxes, Bonhams New Bond Street, 23 November 2011, lots 11 and 12; and for a more general discussion, see De Brujin et al., Sawasa - Japanese Export Art in Black and Gold 1650-1800, Rijksmuseum, Amstersdam, 1998.

    English and Dutch box designs continued for many years in the 18th century to share certain characteristics not found in France, notably the high-relief work, chased and repoussé, so popular in both countries in the mid 18th century; see A.Kenneth Snowman, Eighteenth Century Gold Boxes of Europe, p.92.

    盒身呈如意雲頭形,上下掀蓋式,蓋上以鎏金為地,嵌銀以淺浮雕飾一西洋女士頭戴花冠,身著紗裙,右手搭於檯面,左手腕上一鸚鵡停息,女士身後一捲髮西洋紳士窺望。盒蓋反面以淺浮雕飾一男一女倚坐相擁,互相親吻,四周樹木蔥鬱,兩人身後一對鴿子嬉戲,畫面充滿喜意。盒底則飾一西洋農夫頭戴氈帽,手持鐮刀於農田,田地上置一長鐮刀及水罐。盒壁每面均作開光,內分別飾喜鵲眉梢及桃樹壽桃,頗有中西交融之氣韻。

    本拍品仍是次專拍中其中一件特別之作,其設計風格多受荷蘭品味影響,以高浮雕、焊接、衝壓細工製成凸紋面等技術製成,此風格流行於十八世紀中葉之英國及荷蘭等地,有關之研究,可參考A.Kenneth Snowman著,《Eighteenth Century Gold Boxes of Europe》,頁92。
Activities
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Contacts
  1. John Chong
    Specialist - Chinese Works of Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    Suite 2001, One Pacific Place
    Hong Kong
    Work +852 3607 0013
  2. Sally Fong
    Specialist - Chinese Works of Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    Suite 2001, One Pacific Place
    Hong Kong
    Work +852 2918 4321
  3. Xibo Wang
    Specialist - Chinese Works of Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    Suite 2001, One Pacific Place
    Hong Kong
    Work +852 3607 0010