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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 2



    Price Realised  


    Of flattened pear shape with flat lip and recessed, flat oval foot surrounded by a footrim, each main side decorated with a shou ('longevity') medallion flanked by stylized pairs of kui dragons and fenghuang, within a narrow eight-lobed green border surrounded by small foliate sprays, with floral bands on the narrow sides, all reserved on a textured gilt-metal ground below bands of ruyi heads and flower heads encircling the neck, lapis lazuli stopper with silver collar
    2 in. (5.44 cm.) high

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    This bottle belongs to a group from the mid-Qing period, all probably from the same workshops, and all of which bear the typically courtly design of kui dragons and fenghuang surrounding central shou characters. The only difference lies in the color of the enamels used and whether the cloisons were completely filled, or only partially, as here.

    These cloisonné enamel bottles have thin strips of wire soldered onto the copper or bronze body, creating separate channels called cloisons, which are then filled with different-colored enamels and fired in a kiln at low temperatures for a short period of time. In the case of this example, however, only some areas were infilled, providing a design in relief against the gilded ground. A magnificent double vase decorated in this technique, dated to 1786, is in the Uldry collection (see H. Brinker and A. Lutz, Chinese Cloisonné. The Pierre Uldry Collection, no. 304). Another snuff bottle of the group from the Meriem Collection was sold in these rooms, 19 September 2007, lot 645. See also one illustrated in Chinese Snuff Bottles in the Seattle Art Museum, pl. 55, lower left; one in the collection of the Marquess of Exeter with its original stopper, illustrated by H. Moss, Chinese Snuff Bottles No. 6, E. 30; one with original stopper illustrated by L. Perry, Chinese Snuff Bottles. The Adventures & Studies of a Collector, no. 162; one in the Denis Low Collection, illustrated by R. Kleiner, Treasures from the Sanctum of Enlightened Respect, p. 212, no. 229; and another in M. Hughes, The Blair Bequest. Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Princeton University Art Museum, no. 339. One more extremely rare version of this design is illustrated by Laurence Souksi in the exhibition catalogue Merveilles de la Miniature Chinoise. Flacons-Tabatières de Chine de la Collection du Commandeur, Paris, 2000, no. 2.

    A feature of partially-filled cloisonné wares is the jewel-like appearance, caused by the enamels bulging slightly out of the cloisons, instead of having been polished to a uniform, flat surface.

    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.


    Michael Kaynes
    Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 16 November 1989, lot 69
    Robert Kleiner & Co. Ltd., Hong Kong, 1989


    Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, Vol. 2, no. 267
    Li Ying Hao, Appreciation of Snuff Bottles (Bao Tze Bi Yen Hu), June 2000, Liaonin Picture Printer Co., p. 102, top row


    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