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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 30

    **AN UNUSUAL CARVED PALE GREEN CRYSTAL SNUFF BOTTLE

    SCHOOL OF ZHITING, SUZHOU, 1700-1770

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    **AN UNUSUAL CARVED PALE GREEN CRYSTAL SNUFF BOTTLE
    SCHOOL OF ZHITING, SUZHOU, 1700-1770
    Of compressed form with concave lip and recessed, flat oval foot surrounded by a footrim, carved in low relief with a continuous design of a flowering prunus tree growing from a rocky outcrop rising out of a promontory under a crescent moon, with a seven-character inscription in low relief draft script reading 'I myself shall dig up the bright moon and plant plum blossoms there instead', with a two character seal Qingwan ('[For] pure enjoyment'), coral stopper with integral finial
    2 in. (6.0 cm.) high


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    The inscription is taken from a poem by Liu Han, a native of Changsha who was active during the twelfth century. The line quoted on this bottle is the last line in his poem, Zhong mei ('Planting Plum Trees').

    See the footnote to lot 20 for information regarding Suzhou as a major cultural and carving center. Although any lapidary workshop capable of carving jade could produce other hardstone carvings, Suzhou workshops originally earned their reputation for their jade output and there is little evidence of any extensive production of other stones until the first half of the eighteenth century.

    See Moss, Graham, Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 2, Quartz, no. 365, for a very similar example with an identical inscription. The inscriptions on both these bottles is in the same low relief style found on Zhiting's signed works, and suggests early-eighteenth-century production, with the design conceived as a flat, two-dimensional calligraphic image but raised to a higher plane than that of the ground, as opposed to a more sculptural relief inscription.

    As with the Bloch example, this bottle is suffused with a series of fine, moss-like chlorite inclusions concentrated in planes lying roughly parallel to the main sides of the bottle and clearly visible as strong, vertical banding from the narrow sides.

    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

    Sotheby's, New York, 12 October 1993, lot 119