Snuff Bottles from the Tuyet Nguyet and Stephen Markbreiter Collection - Part II
Online Auction: 26 November–3 December 2021 • 10:00 AM HKT • Hong Kong | 網上拍賣: 2021年11月26日–12月3日 • 上午 10:00 HKT • 香港

壺趣閑心:雪月藏中國鼻煙壺(二) 2021年11月26日–12月3日 • 10:00 上午 HKT • 香港

All lots to be sold without reserve 本場所有拍品均不設底價

Stephen Markbreiter and Tuyet Nguyet, co-founders of Arts of Asia magazine

F ollowing the successful white glove sale of the first instalment in June 2021, this sale (26 November – 3 December 2021) presents the second and final instalment of the collection of snuff bottles assembled by Tuyet Nguyet and her husband Stephen Markbreiter from the 1970s onwards. All the bottles offered here are sold without reserve.

Pioneers in the Asian art world, Tuyet Nguyet (1934-2020) and Stephen Markbreiter (1921-2014) were the founders of Arts of Asia, the premier magazine for Asian art and antiques. Nguyet began her career a dynamic journalist hailing from Vietnam and Stephen Markbreiter was a distinguished English architect. Together they shared a love of Chinese and Asian art, and over the years formed an impressive collection.

Tuyet was an early member of The International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society and was elected as an honorary member. At the first convention she attended in 1973, she was impressed with the group’s desire to educate the public regarding the history of snuff bottles. From then on, she had been a stalwart supporter of the society and welcomed fellow collectors on their travels when passing through Hong Kong. The sale includes a kaleidoscopic range of snuff bottles of differing materials, and is particularly rich in overlay glass, of which Tuyet was particularly passionate about. Many of the bottles were published in a 1998 Arts of Asia article by Robert Kleiner, and were included in the exhibition ‘A Congregation of Snuff Bottle Connoisseurs’ at Tsui Museum of Art in 1996, and 'Heavenly Creations' at the Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery in 2005.

「壺趣閑心:雪月藏中國鼻煙壺(二)」(2021年11月26日至12月3日)繼6月第一部份的白手套佳績,欣呈第二部份由 Tuyet Nguyet(雪月)及 Stephen Markbreiter 伉儷自1970年代起,花多年心血集成之鼻煙壺收藏。本場所有拍品均不設底價。

雪月藏乃Stephen Markbreiter(1921-2014年)、Tuyet Nguyet(中文譯名「雪月」,1934-2020年)伉儷雅蓄。雪月女士,越南新安人,為傑出新聞記者。丈夫 Stephen Markbreiter ,英國人,則為著名建築師。二人畢生鍾情中國及東南亞文化藝術,於1970年自行斥資創辦《Arts of Asia亞洲藝術》雜誌。他倆藉滿腔熱枕及廣闊人脈,以多年心力集成傑出中國及東南亞藝術典藏。

雪月是國際中國鼻煙壺學會的早期成員,並獲選為榮譽會員。1973年, 雪月第一次出席該會的活動,其時對學會推廣鼻煙壺歷史及工藝的投入非常欣賞。自此一直支持該會,並常熱情款待途經香港的鼻煙壺收藏家。 這次拍賣珍品琳瑯,涵蓋各種材質,其中多件曾載於1998年由Robert Kleiner於《Arts of Asia亞洲藝術》期刊撰寫的文章,及曾展於1996年香港徐氏藝術館展覽《壺趣集慶》,及2005年香港大學美術博物館展覽《天地造化》。雪月本人鍾愛套料鼻煙壺也是這次拍賣的亮點,式樣繁多,精巧怡人。

Glass 套料

This collection is notable for the sheer quality of glass bottles. Glass is the most popular type of material for snuff bottles owing to its versatility; it has wide range of colour and can imitate the properties of jade, crystal, stone, and amber. Glass snuff bottles feature the overlay glass technique, in which layered glass of different colours are carved in low relief.

The highlight in the collection is a pink glass ‘silkworm’ bottle from the Yangzhou school, overlaid with four distinct layers: cinnabar-red, ruby-red, emerald-green, and yellow. The two hues of red are employed separately as a fourth, upper layer, which is an immensely rare occurrence on any glass overlay bottles.



Inside Painted 玻璃內畫

These snuff bottles are typically made of crystal or glass, and the interior surface of the bottle served as the canvas for the implementation of minuscule paintings. Painting from the inside of the snuff bottle would require the highest level of skill, as the artists would apply the decoration using a narrow brush of one or two bristles. The amount of diligence, guile and craftsmanship involved renders these works a technical wonder.


Yixing Stoneware 宜興紫砂

Enamelled Porcelain 釉上彩

Enamelled snuff bottles demonstrate the broad range of Qing dynasty works of art in miniature form. The application of the enamel on porcelain require technical virtuosity and skilled workmanship. The snuff bottles highlighted below offer a glimpse into the aesthetic preferences of different Qing emperors and the high level of skill and artistry during those periods.


Jades, Hardstones & Organic Material 玉石及有機材質

The collection also boasts bottles in a variety of materials including jade, chalcedony, fossiliferous limestone, and coral. Many snuff bottles feature the natural design of the stone itself without embellishment. The stones are often of contrasting colours and shapes.


Imitation Bottles 其他

The Qing love affair with glass extended to its use in imitating other materials; snuff bottles were beginning to move away from its Imperial roots to seek a wider acceptance. The collection features several interesting examples of this clever imitation, such as a swirled glass bottle imitating chalcedony, a nephrite-imitation glass bottle, and a bottle which imitates aragonite, a specific type of white marble with its characteristic parallel bands.


Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos, events & news.

Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.





arrow Created with Sketch. Back To Top