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A RARE WICKER AND LACQUER DOUBLE-GOURD-SHAPED SNUFF BOTTLE
A RARE WICKER AND LACQUER DOUBLE-GOURD-SHAPED SNUFF BOTTLE

PROBABLY JAPANESE, 1770-1920

Details
A RARE WICKER AND LACQUER DOUBLE-GOURD-SHAPED SNUFF BOTTLE
PROBABLY JAPANESE, 1770-1920
Finely woven in the form of a double-gourd with a loop handle at the waist, the body covered with a thin layer of lacquer, with a Chinese jade toggle in the form of a cat attached by a cord to the loop, jadeite stopper with gilt-bronze collar
2 in. (5.18 cm.) high
Provenance
Ambassador T.T. Li (Shanghai, 1945)
Literature
Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, Vol. II, no. 319
The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle, Poly Art Museum, p. 126, lower left
Exhibited
Havana, Cuba, 1945
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, 1968
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

Lot Essay

Several factors suggest a possible Japanese origin for this charming and unique little bottle. The loop at the waist would allow it to double as a netsuke, the toggle by which inro, tobacco boxes, pipes, etc., were attached to the sash or belt, and Japanese double-gourd-shaped containers doubling as netsuke are known from the nineteenth century. The single, asymmetrical loop is also unlikely for a Chinese snuff bottle, as is the unusual material.
The little jade cat which is attached to the cord is, however, Chinese. Here, it serves to balance the bottle when it is standing on a flat surface, but since the bottle was clearly not intended to stand up this cannot have been important to anyone but the collector.
Two related bottles, both also likely Japanese, include one described as being woven to enclose a glass base, sold at Sotheby's, London, 6 June 1988, lot 375, and the bottle illustrated on the front cover of the JICSBS, Spring 1982, which is described as woven over a metal base.

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