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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 45



    Price Realised  


    Of flattened form with flat lip and recessed, concave oval foot, the semi-transparent, striated lavender-blue and white agate carved in varying relief making good use of the natural coloring with a continuous scene of a man paddling a small, partially covered sampan, the other main side with a vaporous plume rising from the formalized waves and supporting a pavilion, with a crane flying towards it holding a tally in its beak, coral stopper with agate collar
    1 in. (4.25 cm.) high

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    The subject seems to be one of a scholar in an idealized rustic setting (i.e. as fisherman) dreaming of a Daoist paradise, the standard representation of which is a building floating in clouds arising from a plume of vapor. That it is intended as the Daoist Paradise is suggested by the crane with the tally in its mouth, so often associated with this mythical land, as the tally is a reference to immense longevity. See Moss, Graham, Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 5, Glass, no. 921, for a bottle with a similar subject. The sea (hai) with a house (wu) and a crane holding a tally (chou) in its beak form a rebus for the expression 'Adding tallies to the immortal's abode above the sea' (haiwu tianchou), a subtle expression used to wish people many happy returns on their birthdays.

    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.


    Chinese Treasure Centre, New York, (No. 164)
    Henry and Florence Lang, Montclair, New Jersey
    The Montclair Art Museum, 1943 (Accession no. 43.323 A-B)
    Sotheby's, New York, 23 September 1995, lot 170
    Hugh Moss (HK) Ltd.


    S. Cammann, Miniature Art From Old China. Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Montclair Art Museum Collections, no. 295, and central color plate