A RARE AND FINELY CARVED BLACK AND WHITE JADE SNUFF BOTTLE
A RARE AND FINELY CARVED BLACK AND WHITE JADE SNUFF BOTTLE
A RARE AND FINELY CARVED BLACK AND WHITE JADE SNUFF BOTTLE
A RARE AND FINELY CARVED BLACK AND WHITE JADE SNUFF BOTTLE
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A RARE AND FINELY CARVED BLACK AND WHITE JADE SNUFF BOTTLE

SUZHOU SCHOOL, 1740-1850

Details
A RARE AND FINELY CARVED BLACK AND WHITE JADE SNUFF BOTTLE
SUZHOU SCHOOL, 1740-1850
The bottle is masterfully carved utilizing the markings in the stone with a continuos scene depicting a bearded sage with an attendant traversing a rocky pass beneath a pine tree, with another sage and a child crouching amidst rocky boulders and watching the geese in the pond below, as a monkey peers from an opening in the rocks. Multiple inscriptions are carved in the craggy rock faces, including a poetic couplet about the seasons and mountains, a line about geese, and a further one-line inscription reading Nangong bai shi (Nangong bowing to a rock).
2 5⁄8 in. (6.7 cm.) high, jadeite stopper
Provenance
Property from a Private American Collection; Christie's New York, 27 November 1991, lot 147.
Rachelle R. Holden Collection, New York.
Literature
Arts of Asia, March-April 1992, p. 138, no. 147.
R. Holden, Rivers and Mountains Far From the World - The Rachelle R. Holden Collection, A Personal Commentary, New York, 1994, pp. 204-205, no. 86.

Brought to you by

Margaret Gristina (葛曼琪)
Margaret Gristina (葛曼琪) Senior Specialist, VP, Head of Private Sales New York

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Lot Essay


This bottle was sourced and carved in the town of Suzhou. Famous for its gardens and canals, Suzhou was one of the main cultural centers in Qing-dynasty China, attracting many painters, calligraphers, poets, musicians and other talented individuals. Among this group of scholars and artisans were those skilled in the lapidary art. As seen on the present bottle, these skilled artisans created a tour-de-force, exploiting the dramatically contrasting colors of the stone, carving them away and perforating them to create projecting rocks like those seen in Kunming. The white and black sections of stone are masterfully carved to envelope the figures in a vaporous white tone while the geese on the reverse joyfully swim in an inky black pond.

Holden discusses the beloved subject matter depicted on this bottle in her book, Rivers and Mountains Far From the World - The Rachelle R. Holden Collection, A Personal Commentary, New York, 1994, p. 205, where she identifies the scholar, depicted on this bottle, as "Mi Fu (1051-1107), the Northern Song poet, calligrapher, and painter. He was well-known for his hobby of collecting strange looking rocks. According to legend, he would put on his formal attire and bow to his favorite piece, a Taihu rock, with reverence, addressing it as his elder brother.”

A very close example to the present bottle, formerly in the collection of Lilla S. Perry (Chinese Snuff Bottles: The Adventures and Studies of a Collector, p. 104, nos. 85 and 87), is illustrated in Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle, The J&J Collection, Volume I, pp. 69-70, no. 24. Three more black and white jade bottles from the same school are illustrated by R. Kleiner, Treasures from the Sanctum of Enlightened Respect: Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Collection of Denis Low, nos. 42-44. A small black and white example from the Alice B. McReynolds Collection is illustrated in B. Stevens, The Collector's Book of Snuff Bottles, no. 44.
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