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A BLACK AND GREY JADE SNUFF BOTTLE
1780-1833
The well-hollowed ovoid body carved with a slightly concave foot enclosing the incised seal mark Yitang, the stone of mottled grey tones, stopper
2 3/8 in. (5.99 cm.) high
Provenance
S. C. Harris and R. G. H. Binney
Robert Hall, London, 1983
Literature
Moss et. al., The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle, The J&J Collection, vol. 1, no. 53
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

Lot Essay

There are two other bottles from the collection of Mary and George Bloch which bear the same Yitang mark. The first, previously from the collection of Cyril Green, is illustrated by Moss et. al., A Treasury of Snuff Bottles, Vol. 1, no. 147. Although of a different shape, it is made from similar mottled black and grey jade. The second bottle of yellowish russet jade is also illustrated ibid., no. 146.

Yitang is an alternate name of Nayancheng who was a poet, calligrapher and statesman with a long and varied career (see Arthur W. Hummel, Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, pp. 584-587, where Yitang is listed as a hao or assumed artistic name). Nayancheng was a Manchu and a member of the Plain White Banner. His other appointments include those of sub-chancellor of the Grand Secretariat during the late 18th/early 19th century, and a number of military and legal positions and governor-generalships in Guangzhou, Kharashar, Yarkand and Kashgar. His time spent in the Western regions would have put him in contact with the nephrite trade, and as such, it is not surprising that as a snuff-taker, he would have had snuff bottles made from jade and inscribed with his name.
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