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    Sale 2026

    Important Chinese Snuff Bottles From The J&J Collection, Part V

    17 September 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 56



    Price Realised  


    The well-hollowed bottle of flattened form with concave lip and recessed, flat oval foot surrounded by a footrim, minimally carved on one main side to depict a bird and three eggs, the other main side undecorated, tourmaline stopper with silver collar
    2 3/16 in. (5.56 cm.) high

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    This bottle represents the silhouette style of agate carving. The style usually requires cutting through much of a thin plane of darker material to leave a shallow, silhouette design.

    This bottle falls into a group of agate bottles where the variations in color in the stone provide all or part of the design, with or without surface editing. In a lecture before the 1996 ICSBS convention in Hong Kong, Hugh Moss proposed the term 'ink-play' to relate this concept in the snuff-bottle arts to principles of ink painting (reproduced JICSBS, Autumn 1997, pp. 4-16). 'Ink-play' in the painting tradition refers to the interpretation of random markings made by the free expression of the artist's brush, ink, water and surface. With respect to hardstone carvings, this effect is achieved first by reading the markings as representational imagery, and second, by achieving a balance between the natural markings and subsequent enhancements by the artist. See Moss, Graham and Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 2, Quartz, no. 274 for a further discussion of this genre of snuff bottles.

    Special Notice

    Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.


    Sotheby's, New York, 3 June 1992, lot 476 (where the undecorated reverse is illustrated)
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd.


    Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, Vol. 1, no. 124


    Hugh M. Moss Ltd., London, September 1974
    Christie's, London, October 1987
    Christie's, New York, 1993
    Empress Place Museum, Singapore, 1994
    Museum für Kunsthandwerk, Frankfurt, 1996-1997
    Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, London, 1997
    Naples Museum of Art, Florida, 2002
    Portland Museum of Art, Oregon, 2002
    National Museum of History, Taipei, 2002
    International Asian Art Fair, Seventh Regiment Armory, New York, 2003
    Poly Art Museum, Beijing, 2003