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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 11



    Price Realised  


    Of well-hollowed, flattened form with a flat lip and recessed, concave oval foot, the bluish-green material interrupted by a jagged, black matrix, the lower left section on one main side inscribed Quexi Zhai zhenwan ('For precious enjoyment at the Happy Magpie Studio') in seal script, with the seal Tian shi ('Tian family'), coral stopper carved with a chi dragon, turquoise collar
    1 in. (5 cm.) high

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    The present bottle is exceptionally well made, of an elegant form and impeccably well hollowed. The natural markings in the stone create an extraordinarily energized pattern, providing a range of possible interpretations of the natural markings: a flash of lightning amid storm clouds, dragons writhing amidst green mist, or a landscape.

    The only decoration is a short inscription placed low on one side, bringing to mind a classical Chinese painting. Almost certainly the work of a seal carver, the qualities of the 'iron-brush' are evident in the control of the highly literary seal script and the flow of the strokes.

    See a turquoise bottle with similar patination and distribution of the matrix on one side, illustrated by R. Kleiner, Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Collection of Mary and George Bloch, no. 174. Other well-patinated and beautifully marked turquoise bottles are illustrated in Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle, Vol. 1, no. 86, and in B. Stevens, The Collector's Book of Snuff Bottles, nos. 599, 601 and 603.

    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.


    Hugh Moss


    JICSBS, September 1977, p. 13, no. 12
    JICSBS, December 1977, p. 25, no. 44
    Snuff Bottles of the Ch'ing Dynasty, p. 89, no. 127
    V. Jutheau, Guide du Collectionneur de Tabatières Chinoises, p. 121, no. 4
    100 Selected Chinese Snuff Bottles from the J & J Collection, back cover and no. 1
    J & J poster
    JICSBS, Autumn 1989, front cover
    Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle, Vol. 1, no. 87
    Orientations, July 1994, p. 40
    Silver Kris, January 1997, p. 48, fig. 1
    The Miniature World. An Exhibition of Snuff Bottles from The J & J Collection, p. 37


    Hugh M. Moss Ltd., London, September 1974
    Hong Kong Museum of Art, October-December 1978
    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