Lot 1097
  • 1097

A Carnelian Agate ‘Two Friends’ Snuff Bottle Official School, Qing Dynasty, 18th / 19th Century

Estimate
60,000 - 80,000 HKD
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Description

together with a watercolour illustration by Peter Suart

Provenance

Hugh M. Moss Ltd.
Paula J. Hallett
Sotheby's New York, 2nd December 1985, lot 78.

Literature

Curtis, 1985, p. Iii.
JICSBS, Summer 1986, front cover.
Krahl, 1987, no. 10.
Bloch, 1990, p. 94.
Moss et al., 1996-2009, vol. 2, no. 270.

Condition

A barely visible chip on the outer footrim. An exposed natural flaw across the lip. Otherwise, good condition.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

Catalogue Note

This much-published and exhibited bottle is one of those rare bottles that have an evocative design achieved without compromising the surface integrity of the form. The main figure standing with his back to the viewer and gazing out across a lake or into a cloudy void is so well defined that one can read the stance without trouble, see the line of the left elbow beneath the robes and the hunch of the shoulders. Even the bulge of the right cheek, seen from behind, is perfectly formed in the natural image in the stone. From there onwards, it is very much open to interpretation. The brown striated markings around the base provide continuity as well as a ground for the figures and the rocks upon which they sit. On the reverse may be seen a delightful landscape scene of water and mist with a group of large boulders emerging form the waters. On the main group stands a country retreat, its thatched roof in some disrepair, the paler brown columns and wall plainly visible and a lighted window beneath the eaves, presumably the country retreat from which our scholars have strolled to enjoy the view. A rocky promontory above juts out from the spray of a waterfall or a bank of mist, and the waterfall becomes a stream tumbling through another group of boulders in the foreground.

Beneath the foot is some striated material with brilliant red colouring, allowing our designation ‘carnelian-agate.’ It is only a small area, however, and the brilliance of the red quickly fades out to a warm brown which is seen around the base of the bottle from both main sides.