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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 1

    AN INSIDE-PAINTED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE

    SUN XINGWU, BEIJING, DATED TO THE WUXU YEAR (1898)

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    AN INSIDE-PAINTED GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
    SUN XINGWU, BEIJING, DATED TO THE WUXU YEAR (1898)
    Of flattened form with a flat lip and flat oval foot surrounded by a footrim, painted in ink and watercolors with a continuous scene of a village on the two banks of a river in pre-dawn moonlight, with watch-tower and busy inn, its walls inscribed 'Comfortable lodgings for merchants and travelers,' its inhabitants coming to life early in the morning with one man trying to coax a reluctant donkey from its stable onto the dirt road while another carries two panniers on a pole and two others greet each other, further from the inn a man leads two Bactrian camels and another figure mounted on a donkey across a bridge, followed on foot by an attendant after leaving the open gates of the village, with cockerels atop two haystacks behind the inn, the bottle inscribed with a poetic excerpt in draft script 'The rooster crows when the humble inn is [still bathed] in moonlight. The frost-covered plank-bridge is [already marked] with foot-prints,' followed by 'Offered by Tinggui in the year wuxu, for the assessment of the honorable Ruiting,' with two illegible seals, dendritic agate stopper with vinyl collar
    2 in. (6.15 cm.) high


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    Sun Xingwu began his career copying the work of Zhou Leyuan, which seems to have been the trend for artists in this field at the time. However, he very quickly established his own distinctive and highly competent style, which typically features a subdued use of color and a complete pictorial competence in painting the genre scenes he favored. While the bottle is unsigned, the subject is typical of Sun and the illegible seals are also identical to those which appear on a number of his works. A second example with very slight variation is illustrated by Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, Vol. 2, no. 444. Another example is in the Hults Collection and a fourth is in the Shierson Collection.

    The two lines of poetry are from a poem entitled Early Departure for Mount Shang, by Wen Tingyun (active c. 859), a prolific Tang poet and musician. The signature, Tinggui, is almost certainly that of the donor for presentation to Ruiting.

    Provenance

    Hugh M. Moss Ltd., London, 1976


    Literature

    Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, Vol. 2, no. 443
    The Art of Chinese Snuff Bottle, Poly Art Museum, p. 138


    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, 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