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**AN UNUSUAL CARVED SERPENTINE SNUFF BOTTLE
Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more
**AN UNUSUAL CARVED SERPENTINE SNUFF BOTTLE

ATTRIBUTED TO GUANGDONG PROVINCE, 1740-1840

Details
**AN UNUSUAL CARVED SERPENTINE SNUFF BOTTLE
ATTRIBUTED TO GUANGDONG PROVINCE, 1740-1840
Of compressed spherical form, boldly carved in low relief with a continuous pattern of clouds, one side with a dragon spewing forth a pearl in a stream of mist above a carp emerging from the water below, the other side with five bats in various postures of flight, coral stopper with vinyl collar
2 3/8 in. (6.16 cm.) high
Provenance
Mary Morrison (Vancouver, 1978)
Literature
Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, Vol. I, no.77
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
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

Serpentine is a soft stone, easily carved with a steel blade. The serpentine used by the Chinese carver is usually green or yellow, and very rarely black as with the present bottle. The stone wears easily because of its softness and here the surface is evenly and gently smoothed by use over the centuries, imparting to the surface a delightful, velvety softness.
The carving here is unusually fine, and the clouds in particular are masterfully executed with a great sense of movement and energy. The description of the dragon, an unusual hybrid between the scaly long dragon and the more lizard-like chi dragon, is similar to a group of eighteenth-century ink stones and snuff bottles from Gaoyao county in Guangdong province, suggesting a likely place of manufacture for this bottle. Here the dragon spews forth a vapor from which emerges a pearl and five bats. Set below this scene is a carp rising from the waves. The carp struggling upstream symbolizes the aspirations of the scholar, while the dragon represents the scholar having successfully completed the Imperial examinations required to become a government official. The five bats (wufu) represent the five blessings of a rich and full life: longevity, wealth, health, love of virtue, and a natural death, while the combination of bats with clouds (fuyun) symbolizes good fortune. The combination of the dragon, bats and clouds also suggests the popular expression Tai ping sheng shi (A Harmonious and Peaceful World).

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