**A WELL-CARVED WHITE JADE SNUFF BOTTLE
Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more
**A WELL-CARVED WHITE JADE SNUFF BOTTLE

POSSIBLY IMPERIAL, 1730-1800

Details
**A WELL-CARVED WHITE JADE SNUFF BOTTLE
POSSIBLY IMPERIAL, 1730-1800
The flawless white stone carved in the form of a crouching monkey balancing on its back a vase with animal mask and ring handles, the foot formed by the animal's feet and tail, coral stopper
2 3/8 in. (6 cm.) high
Provenance
Sotheby's, New York, 3 October 1980, lot 282
Hugh M. Moss Ltd
Literature
Moss et. al., The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle, The J & J Collection, vol. 1, no. 13
Exhibited
Christie's New York, 1993
Empress Place Museum, Singapore, 1994
Museum fur 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
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.

Lot Essay

The theme of the monkey (hou) carrying (bei) a vase or bottle on its back (bei) suggests the phrase beibei fenghou, meaning to attain high office generation after generation. The conception of this unusual bottle, superbly carved from flawless white nephrite, is similar to another bottle from the J & J Collection, illustrated by Moss et. al., The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle, vol. 1, no. 12, and sold in our New York rooms, 30 March 2005, lot 40, where the vase is set into an integral stand shaped as a duck. With the present bottle, the monkey conveys a marked sense of life, as it responds to the burden of the vase's weight, not only through his facial expression, his eyes wide open and alert, but by the manner in which he reaches up an arm to support it, or perhaps adjust it for greater comfort.

The uniqueness and novelty of the present bottle also speaks of the interest to create innovative and interesting designs to please the Emperor. This element, along with the similarity in material with other jade wares still in the Imperial Collection in Beijing and Taiwan, the discreet taste and small size, the clever adaptation of such elements as integral stands, and the flat rim at the upper neck all appear to be features of Imperial jade snuff bottles attributable to the Beijing Palace workshops. Furthermore, the mask and ring handles flanking the shoulders of the vase were inspired by ancient bronzes, many of which were in the Imperial Collection. The keen interest of the Qing Emperors in this collection would have been ample reason to encourage mask and ring handles as standard motifs on a wide range of imperial vessels.
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