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    Sale 1977

    The Meriem Collection Important Chinese Snuff Bottles, Part II

    19 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 207



    Price Realised  


    Of flattened form with slightly concave lip and recessed flat foot surrounded by a footrim, the well-hollowed bottle of even, rich tone with slight crizzling, tourmaline stopper with gilt-metal collar
    2 7/16 in. (6.2 cm.) high

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    One of the most beautiful of the exotic materials used for snuff bottles is amber, the translucent fossilized resin of ancient coniferous trees from the Tertiary period. The three main varieties of amber used are: a range of transparent brown, golden-brown and reddish amber much of which came from Burma, although similar material was also found elsewhere; a yellow, cloudy amber associated with the Baltic; and "root amber," where the transparent range of material has inclusions of opaque yellow-ochre and brown colors.

    The unusually rich color and transparency of the present bottle points to its being of Burmese origin. Its superb hollowing and lovely material distinguish this bottle as one of the great examples of its type. Much early amber exhibits the web-like crackle known as crizzling, and is considered a positive feature by collectors, demonstrating the natural effects of time on a delicate material. The fine condition of this early bottle in a material so vulnerable to use suggests it was a prized possession.

    Compare a bottle of similar shape in Snuff Bottles in the Collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1991, no. 382, and nos. 381 and 383 for two of different shapes carved from equally fine amber.

    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.


    Robert Hall, London, 1987.


    Robert Hall, Chinese Snuff Bottles, October 1987, p. 14, no. 4.


    Robert Hall, London, "Chinese Snuff Bottles," 12-18 October 1987.
    Canadian Craft Museum, Vancouver, 1992.