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**AN ENGRAVED WHITE GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more
**AN ENGRAVED WHITE GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE

ENGRAVING, ZHOU HONGLAI, HANGZHOU, 1895-1909; BOTTLE, POSSIBLY YUANHU, ZHEJIANG, 1895-1909

Details
**AN ENGRAVED WHITE GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
ENGRAVING, ZHOU HONGLAI, HANGZHOU, 1895-1909; BOTTLE, POSSIBLY YUANHU, ZHEJIANG, 1895-1909
Of rounded-rectangular form with cylindrical neck, engraved on one main side with a scholar seated in a skiff beside a reed bank, a paddle tucked beneath his arm as he gazes up at a goose in flight, the other side inscribed with the entire text of An Inscription [Dedicated to My] Humble Cottage, followed by "Engraved by Yangbin jushi", with one seal of the artist, Zhou, glass stopper
2 1/16 in. (5.3 cm.) high
Provenance
Robert Hall, London, 1989
Christie's, New York, 2 December 1993, lot 389
Hugh Moss (HK) Ltd.
Literature
Robert Hall, Chinese Snuff Bottles II, no. 63
Exhibited
Empress Place, Singapore, 9 April -7 August 1994
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 well-known text inscribed on this bottle reads:
A mountain does not need to be high.
It becomes known when immortals are to be found.
A river does not need to be deep.
It becomes enchanted when dragons are to be found.
Here is my humble cottage.
Through my reputation [its name spreads like] fragrance.
The steps are green with scattered moss.
[One catches] glimpses of the lush grass through the screen of bamboo splits.
Learned scholars [come to] chat and laugh together. The ignorant never count among our company. I can play my zither or read the Diamond Sutra, without [fear of] being disturbed by a medley of stringed and wind musical instruments, or being fatigued by reason of governmental documents.[Similar to] the thatched cottage of Zhuge Liang of Nanyang and the pavilion of Ziyun of Western Shu, [we may cite] Confucius' saying, "How could this be [considered a] crude [abode]?"
Zhuge Liang (181-234) was a political and military expert living in the Three Kingdoms Period (220-265). He went into seclusion in Nanyang (present-day Dengxian in Hubei province) at the end of the Eastern Han period (25-220). In 207, Liu Bei (161-223), soon to become the founder of the state of Shu, paid him three visits at his thatched cottage to seek advice on military strategy. These visits have come to symbolize able leaders ready to waive the formal etiquette appropriate to their high station when searching out talent. Ziyun was the sobriquet of Yang Xiong (53 BC - AD 18), a native of Chengdu in Shu (now Sichuan province). He was a well-known writer, philosopher and linguist of the Western Han period (206 BC - AD 23). Liu Yuxi (772-842), who wrote the original text, was a well-known Tang-dynasty poet.
Zhou Honglai was among the finest of the artists who specialized in micro-engraving at the end of the Qing dynasty. He worked mostly on glass, but occasionally on porcelain, such as the example illustrated by V. Jutheau, Guide du collectionneur de tabatières chinoises, p. 95, and also illustrated by G. Tsang and H. Moss, Snuff Bottles of the Ch'ing Dynasty, no. 244. A native of Baimen (modern day Nanjing), Zhou's works are inscribed as made at other places, including Hangzhou, which he describes visiting. Zhou was certainly a scholar and, like Ding Erzhong, practiced his art for a number of different patrons, and apparently also gave bottles as gifts to selected friends. In Moss, Graham, Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 5, Glass, his works are discussed under nos. 1049-56, and his career, according to dated works, spanned the years from 1895 (A Congregation of Snuff Bottle Connoisseurs, no. 60) to 1909 (the porcelain example cited above). The glass used for the present bottle, as well as the form, is typical of that used so often by Zhou, and it can be assumed that he had them made. The origins of the glass are suggested by a bottle in the Bloch Collection illustrated by Moss, Graham, Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, Vol. 5, Glass, no. 1054.

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