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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 32


    OFFICIAL SCHOOL, 1740-1820

    Price Realised  


    OFFICIAL SCHOOL, 1740-1820
    Of very well-hollowed compressed form with concave lip and recessed, slightly convex oval foot surrounded by a footrim, carved using the natural coloring in the stone as a cameo with a continuous scene of two horses in a rocky landscape with a pine tree and lingzhi, one horse grooming its raised right foreleg, the other grazing a clump of grass growing from the base of a rocky promontory, from which a gnarled, old pine tree and a lingzhi grow, quartz stopper with gilt-metal collar
    2 in. (5.6 cm.) high

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    For a discussion of the Official School of hard-stone carving, see Moss, Graham, Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 2, Quartz, no. 258 and the several subsequent examples which are all of the school.

    This is one of the masterpieces of probably Qianlong-period bottles of this School, with extraordinary use of the natural colors of a remarkable piece of stone, since the very unusual, thin upper layer of grey coloring is repeated on three sides of the bottle, allowing the carver unusual latitude in using it to advantage in his carving. For other masterly bottles with horses from this school, see Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, Vol. 1, nos. 134, 151 and 153, where the symbolism of the fat and thin horses combined in a single subject is given, explaining that one represents the honest official (the thin one) who remains poor and honest, the other the corrupt official, who gets fat through his corruption. Such bottles were probably distributed as a reminder by the Court to officials, but might also have been given between officials, also as a reminder to serve the Emperor loyally and the people honestly.

    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.


    Gerd Lester
    Pauline Lester
    Sotheby's, New York, 23 March 1998, lot 162
    Hugh Moss (HK) Ltd.


    Christie's, Los Angeles, 2003