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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 65

    A RARE INSIDE-PAINTED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE

    SIGNED DING ERZHONG, DATED NINTH MONTH OF THE JIACHEN YEAR (1904), BEIJING, SIGNED YU ON THE SEAL ERZHONG, AND WITH TWO FURTHER SEALS DING AND DINGSHI ZI

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A RARE INSIDE-PAINTED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
    SIGNED DING ERZHONG, DATED NINTH MONTH OF THE JIACHEN YEAR (1904), BEIJING, SIGNED YU ON THE SEAL ERZHONG, AND WITH TWO FURTHER SEALS DING AND DINGSHI ZI
    Of flattened form with flat lip and recessed, convex oval foot surrounded by a footrim, painted with ink and watercolors on one side with a river landscape with a scholar in a sampan in front of a water-side residence beneath distant towering peaks, inscribed in draft script, 'Copying the Song painting style for my respected friend, Shaokui, by Erzhong, Yu', with seal Ding, and on the other side with a sword attached to a basket of flowers, inscribed with the title in clerical script 'Men and women of valor', followed in draft script by 'In managing affairs and interacting with people around him the eminent Shaokui is both tender-hearted and gallant. In the ninth month of the year jiachen when I was about to leave for a new post in the Eastern Feudatory Administrative Office, I copied this small scene to express my appreciation for him', signed Yu superimposed on the seal Erzhong, and with seal Dingzhi zi ('A son of the Ding family'), jadeite stopper with vinyl collar
    2 7/16 in. (6.19 cm.) high


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    Erzhong is the zi, or sobriquet, of the scholar-official and professional painter, calligrapher, bamboo carver and seal-carver Ding Shangyu, from Tongzhou, modern-day Nantong in Jiangsu province. He was based in Beijing during his early career, and served as an official in the Qing government.

    Ding ranks as one of the pre-eminent masters of inside-painted snuff bottles. Ding's range of subject matter was fairly wide and even among his favorite landscapes, no two are ever alike. He re-invented the composition with every painting, and drew inspiration from Tang, Song, Yuan and Ming masters. The landscape on this bottle is inspired by the Song style, and the highly effective composition is a reflection of Ding's immense talent.

    The subject of the sword and basket of flowers is unique not only for Ding but among the broader body of inside-painted snuff bottles. Inspired by his friend for whom the bottle was painted, it displays Ding's artistry in composition and balance.

    The inscription also provides documentary information about Ding: he was an official serving the government and therefore a successful scholar under the Qing system. He was posted to the east of China and possibly elsewhere until 1911, when the Qing dynasty collapsed.

    Provenance

    Gerry Mack, New York, 1979


    Literature

    Chinese Snuff Bottles No. 3, p. 59, fig. 75 and p. 60, fig. 78
    Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, Vol. 2, no. 417
    Arts of Asia, November-December 1998, p. 73, fig. 8


    Exhibited

    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, 2001 - 2002
    Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Oregon, 2002
    National Museum of History, Taipei, 2002
    International Asian Art Fair, Seventh Regiment Armory, New York, 2003
    Poly Art Museum, Beijing, 2003