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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 14

    **AN UNUSUAL CARVED AGATE SNUFF BOTTLE

    SUZHOU, 1740-1860

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    **AN UNUSUAL CARVED AGATE SNUFF BOTTLE
    SUZHOU, 1740-1860
    Of well-hollowed, compressed form with a concave lip and recessed oval foot surrounded by a footrim, carved with a continuous landscape with a scholar and his young attendant near a pavilion surrounded by pierced rockwork, with a deer and mythical beast nearby, and a bird perched on a branch, with an incised inscription in clerical script and a second in draft script followed by the seal nian ('to read out loud' or 'ponder') in positive seal script, one area of the neck carved with a small wisp of clouds, glass stopper with gilt-metal collar
    2 in. (6.75 in.) high


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    The inscription in clerical script may be translated as:
    The great creative force is accumulated in the remote mountains and rivers. It roams about on earth as an immortal with shaggy eyebrows and hoary hair.

    The inscription in draft script may be translated as:
    A spring sprig of the foremost among a hundred flowers.

    The 'great creative force' is a reference to the Dao, and is the sustaining source of all meaning, transcending all concepts. It is accessible through the enlightenment of the mystic, when individual self-consciousness gives way to cosmic consciousness. The sage, the worldly manifestation of the Dao roaming the earth, is depicted as seated in meditation in a scholar's garden, with blossoming prunus and rock sculptures. The deer is a symbol of immortality, and appears at ease with the mythical beast, a reflection of the harmony disseminated by the sage. The prunus, 'foremost among a hundred flowers', is a symbol of perseverance and fortitude, because it bursts into glorious blossom in the depths of winter.

    The confident handling of the beautifully textured material and different tones of color on varying planes, and the sculptural quality of the carving are features traditionally associated with the Suzhou school.

    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.


    Provenance

    Cortwright Wetherill
    Sotheby's, New York, 22 November 1988, lot 368


    Literature

    Sotheby's Newsletter, November 1988, p. 7
    Arts of Asia, May-June 1989, p. 149, lot 368
    Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, Vol. 1, no. 142


    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