• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2026

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

    17 September 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 83


    OFFICIAL SCHOOL, 1760-1840

    Price Realised  


    OFFICIAL SCHOOL, 1760-1840
    Of compressed form with slightly concave lip and recessed flat oval foot surrounded by a footrim, the agate of honey-beige tone with mottled-tortoiseshell areas, cleverly carved on one side utilizing the dark areas of the stone with a pair of horses, one recumbent while the other grazes, a monkey seated nearby with a stick in its left hand, with two lingzhi sprigs issuing from the rockwork, amber glass stopper with silver collar
    2 in. (6.55 cm.) high

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    For a discussion of the Official School of hard-stone carving, see Moss, Graham, Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 2, Quartz, no. 258 and the several subsequent examples which are all of the school. In this extraordinary example from the legendary Martin Schoen Collection, a popular subject for the School is masterfully re-composed, presumably prompted by the generous space available on the large, flattened main side. It is one of the most impressive bottles of this subject known from the School. See H. White, Snuff Bottles from China, pl. 19, nos. 1-4, for further examples of similar agate snuff bottles in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

    The combination of a monkey and horses forms the rebus Mashang fenghou ('May you immediately be conferred the rank of Marquis'), while the lingzhi fungus and rocks represent longevity.


    Martin Schoen Collection
    The Neal W. and Frances R. Hunter Collection
    Sotheby's, New York, 15 September 1998, lot 329


    H. Huntington, Architectural Digest, March-April 1972, p. 38, no. 8 Arts of Asia, March-April 1977, p. 97