• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1977

    The Meriem Collection Important Chinese Snuff Bottles, Part II

    19 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 251

    **A RARE AND UNUSUAL CORAL-INLAID AMBER BAT-FORM SNUFF BOTTLE

    1780-1880

    Price Realised  

    **A RARE AND UNUSUAL CORAL-INLAID AMBER BAT-FORM SNUFF BOTTLE
    1780-1880
    Finely carved in the round as a bat, details of the fur finely delineated, the inset eyes of coral, stained bone stopper
    1 45/64 in. (4.3 cm.) across


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    Amber was valued long before the snuff-bottle era and considered to be a symbol of longevity, since it was known to have lain in the ground being transformed over a long period of time. It would have become a popular material for snuff bottles from very early in the development of the art-form. It is one of the most beautiful of exotic materials used for snuff bottles (see the note to lot 207 for a brief description of the material).

    This is part of a rare group of mid-Qing animal-form snuff bottles, the majority of which are in white nephrite (although for a very rare black jade example, see lot 202). Other examples in amber are known, although they are considerably rarer than their jade counterparts. For other amber examples, see a bear-form bottle illustrated in Moss, Graham and Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, no. 288 and a squirrel-form bottle, no. 287; a pig-form bottle illustrated by R. Kleiner, in Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Collection of John Ault , no. 102; and two boar-form bottles, the first illustrated by B. Stevens, The Collector's Book of Snuff Bottles, no. 467, and the second sold in these rooms, 3 December 1992, lot 376.

    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.


    Provenance

    Albert M. Pyke Collection.
    Potter's Gallery, Vancouver.


    Exhibited

    Canadian Craft Museum, Vancouver, 1992.