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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Ye Zhongsan Chinese Snuff Bottle / Strange Stories Chinese Studio / Liaozhai Zhi

Painted 1913, Spring Month, Ye Zhongsan painted, and attributed to Ye Zhongsan the Elder

Ye Zhongsan had a preference for painting scenes from the "Strange Stories Chinese Studio ( Liaozhai zhiyi )", and the reverse is titled, "Master of West Lake" from Chinese Ghost Story Book. A rarely painted scene by Ye Zhongsan,


Ye Zhongsan the Elder may be considered the most prolific of all Middle Period artists in this IP medium. Below an example specifically dated “Xin Hai qui yue” for Autumn 1911 and it is one of the last IPSB that can be ascribed to Ye Zhongsan the Elder 1875 – 1945 since it was painted before Ye’s eldest son, Ye Bengzhen joined the studio in 1912. Even if Ye Bengzhen had joined his father by late 1911, he would not have immediately been able to paint such a complicated subject matter. So although this bottle was painted in 1913, when compared to other known pre 1912 bottles with same theme, it is easy to attribute this 1913 bottle to Ye Zhongsan the Elder. Here is a 1911 for comparison.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Chinese Snuff Bottle / Warrior Themes

These unsigned paintings are in the style of Yong Shoutian, but the ccolors are not what we see with Yong Shoutian.

After 100 years, it is nice to still be able and find paired bottles that have managed to stand the test of time and stay together.

The one side of both bottles ( first pic ) combine to theme "The Victory in Jun Shan" ( or Jun Mountain from story in Three Kingdoms )

Then the other side ( second pic ) combines both bottles for the "Story of Cao Fighting with Ma Chao from Three Kingdoms period" 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Amethyst Quartz Carved Chinese Snuff Bottle

19th Century Amethyst Quartz Carved Chinese Snuff Bottle
2 1/2" tall
"Star God of Longevity" Scene

Stars on deer could
represent the "Fu" character in place of a bat. The whole composition forms the rebus "Fu Lu Shou" (Happiness or Luck, generally represented by a bat "Fu" or "Bian Fu", "Lu" meaning wealth or profit and also the word for deer, and "Shou" referring to longevity and being represented by the God of Longevity "Shoulao" )
Also there is a myth from the Ming dynasty that a deer was the companion of Shoulao who owed his longevity to the deer. The deer had the magical ability to sniff out lingzhi in the forest and guided shoulao to the Lingzhi which was the key to extending life.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

18th / 19th Century Incised Glass Chinese Snuff Bottle

2 3/8" tall, mold blown, transparent ( po-li ) glass, 1780-1850.

Neatly incised ( kezi ) gilded poem in clerical ( lishu ) style script, orchids and butterflies with Qianlong nian zhi incised and gilded four character mark in seal script believed added at a later date.

Raised and shallow recessed foot with brecciated red jasper stopper.  

First two sentences/rows
Fragrance of spring suffuses the air,
enjoying the rare gem that you generously share.

Meaning.. The right amount of "envy" with no greed or coveting, is a great compliment to the owner. So this is praising the orchids and make the owner happy.

For the next two sentences/rows,
Noble and true friendship extended,
pure like the moon reflected in still water

Meaning.. The Angelica and Orchid signify noble characters, scholars, purity and friend. Interpreted as extending a friendship, as the writer is "showing" the beautiful/subtle progression of key guest to friend.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

18th Century Imperial Guyue Xuan Enamel On Glass Chinese Snuff Bottle

18th Century Imperial Guyue Xuan Enamel On Glass.

( ref. Mysteries of the Ancient Moon ), Spring 2006 ICSBS journal. This from a well known, and long accepted as a genuine decorative group of enameled glasswares from the later part of the Qianlong reign ( 1760-1780 ). The article labels these as, "Experimental Guyue Xuan Wares" ( pic added from article ). Typical Mid-Qianlong neck-bands and enamels. Decorated with the emblems of the Eight Daoist Immortals, incorporating dangling tasseled, and beaded cords suspended from the shoulder-bands. Decorated with the Baijixiang or Eight Buddhist auspicious symbols including the Buddhist "Wheel of Law." Guyue Xuan mark in iron red regular script.

The following from Peter Lam's scholarly research, "Studio Marks in Imperial and Court Related Snuff Bottles" within "The Imperial Connection: Court Related Chinese Snuff Bottles, The Humphrey K.F. Hui Collection." clears up that we can label these Guyue Xuan wares as Imperial.

"One of the key issue that authorities in the past found it difficult to attribute such marked pieces to the imperial household is that they failed to find any buildings in the imperial compound by the name Guyue Xuan."

"The two architects, He Chongyi and Zeng Zhaofen carried out a meticulous research project.  One entry within their paper talks about the purpose of the building, Changchun Yuan, according to the Qianlong Emperor was to prepare for his retirement life.  Guyue Xuan was located at the back of the main hall. It was linked to the Tuisheng Zhai, which was designed as the bedroom chamber of the Qianlong Emperor after his retirement."

"There had been a glass factory in the Yuanming Yuan since Yongzheng times, and the painting academy, Ruyi Guan was also situated in the Dongtian Shenchu in Yuanming Yuan. And therefore it is probably not too far fetching to theorize that the Qianlong Emperor had ordered glass wares to be used in this particular garden. The blanks of the glass objects were produced by the glass factory, and afterwards they were decorated by the court painters in the Ruyi Guan. Guyue Xuan would be the place where these glass wares were used, and from which it derived its name. It is therefore possible that in the late Qianlong through the Jianqing reigns, some glass pieces, including snuff bottles were marked with the studio name of Guyue Xuan. This early Guyue Xuan marked group all came from the Imperial Household Workshop, and should have the same characteristic as those earlier ones with Qianlong reign marks."


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Guyeuxuan / Yangzhou Enamel on Glass / Imperial Palace Workshop Snuff Bottle

Genuine eighteenth century Guyeuxuan bottle and extremely rare.

Guyuexuan ware made at the court, Beijing, palace workshops, circa 1775-1790.

Made as part of the Guyuexuan group from post 1767 period until 1799, where the enamels were made at Beijing or as a sub-group, Yangzhou. Typical paneled shape also a standard 18th century shape for the court.

The enameling style is related to a group of classic Guyuexuan wares made at the court, and probably Beijing, palace workshops, circa 1775-1790.

Reference, “Mysteries of the Ancient Moon” ( ref ICSBS Spring 2006 journal )


Famille Rose Enamel on Blue and White Porcelain Snuff Bottle / Jiaqing

Imperial, Jingdezhen Kilns, Jiaqing four character iron red and of the period (1796 - 1820).
This style of decoration began in the late Qianlong period at the Imperial kilns at Jingdezhen and continued well into the Jiaqing period.

Researching similar bottles, could not help but notice that "Romance of the Western Chambers" scenes like the one painted on this bottle were very popular among the famille rose enamel on blue and white porcelain type bottles of this period..

2 1/8" tall.....

For More Pics Via Slideshow....  


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Underglaze Blue and Copper Red Porcelain Chinese Snuff Bottle

Porcelain with rounded shoulders painted in underglaze blue and copper red. Trefoil border on short flared neck.

Mark on base is the pig Zhu bajie, and the theme is Pan si dong (  盘丝洞 script on shoulder ) or Pan si cave, there are lots of spider witches living in the cave, and they all want to eat Tang Monk who is monkey king and the Pig's master, those ladies on the bottle are all the spider witches.

Spider witches are the spiders from the heaven, and they have spell magics to turn into human being and trick the Tang xuanzhang, the Tang monk traveled to the "Western Regions" during the Tang Dynasty to obtain sacred texts , during the Journal he had to face all kind of tests the buddha gave him, spider witch in silk cave or twist silk cave are on of them, so there are all kind of witches in that fairy tale.

Early to Middle 19th Century

3 1/8" tall

For additional slideshow pics....


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cobalt Blue Underglazed Porcelain Snuff Bottle

Finally !

My first truly nice porcelain bottle .. !

Been a long time coming.. Nice bottles like this are usually out of my price range.  I got lucky in negotiating a price with the seller that I could actually afford..

This porcelain of cylindrical shape, painted in underglazed cobalt blue. Theme is of scaly dragon in flight among clouds, chasing a flaming pearl.  A second dragon rising from the waves below.  Supported on a raised glazed footrim.

Couple of things noted from "In Search Of A Dragon", The Collection of Joseph Baruch Silver.. Example # 14 page 34 :

The dots on the band around the neck were first seen during the Xianfeng reign ( 1851 - 1862 ) and continued into the Tongzhi period ( 1862 - 1873 ).

This bottle marked Yung Cheng (1723-1735) , but believed to have been created 2nd half to 3rd quarter 19th Century..

Click Here To See Complete Slideshow

Sold .....

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Brush The Stone, Collection of Dr Dean Edell by Christopher Randall

Recommended book.. "The Brush The Stone", from the collection of Dr Dean Edell, by, Christopher Randall.

Illustrates and discusses the fine points that contribute to calligraphy and relief designs on snuff bottles and other jades..

Large book at 11 x 8 and 138 beautifully illustrated pages.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Inkplay in Microcosm, Inside Painted Chinese Snuff Bottles, The Humphrey K.F. Hui Collection

"Inkplay in Microcosm, Inside Painted Chinese Snuff Bottles, The Humphrey K.F. Hui Collection"..
Extra large, 333 action packed pages covering a comprehensive selection of 156 inside painted bottles of 31 artist spanning from Jiaqing of the Qing to the Republic. There is a pretty cool part in the beginning that talks about and gives examples to paintings, seal stones, and carvings that most are not aware that ding Ezhrong was well versed in.. Also sketches by Ye Zhongsan..
If your familiar with Peter Lams article about Gan Xuan within the October 2002 Arts of Asia magazine, this book has parts of that, but goes much deeper covering Gan Xuan to the fullest..
A must have book if your passionate about Early and Middle Period IP artists.. I am thrilled to finally have a copy..

The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle: The J & J Collection

Another Christmas at the Post Office today ! "The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle: The J & J Collection", and Wow !! So glad I decided to get this two volume set .. Fabulous !

Monday, November 17, 2014

Famille Noir Porcelain Chinese Snuff Bottle

19th, Daoguang, 1821 to 1860. 

Tengu Demon Motif
The earliest pictures of Tengu show him with an avian beak and feathers and these two versions of Tengu persist today as “dai Tengu” or “great tengu” and “karasu Tengu” or “crow Tengu” who is a “lesser Tengu” and still in training.

2 1/2" tall.. 


Reference/Dating, "The Victoria and Albert Museum Collection"

Tongzhi or Guangxu Famille Rose on Porcelain

2 3/4", enamel on porcelain, variation of longevity symbol in iron red overglaze  ( 3 x's ) around this round ovoid body with key pattern, also in iron red on a short neck. Formalized lingzhi around shoulder, with lozenge or paddles around base with recessed foot, and Qianlong Nian Zhi mark in iron red regular script. Glazed inside and out..

Tongzhi or Guangxu, circa 1862-1900.

Special thank you to forum members, Giovanni, and Tom B.  An especially informative post by Tom B can be read here..  


Monday, September 15, 2014

Chinese Snuff Bottle Inside Painted By Master Artist Wang Chunguang

Albert Einstein commemorative portrait painted in celebration of his 100th birthday.

Read the previous blog entry with the cat bottle to learn details about Wang Chunguang painting history..

Wang Chunguang was training under Wang Xisan during December 1979.

Charll, a member on our snuff bottle forum shared a very similar Einstein portrait bottle painted by Wang Xisan ( last pic ) during Spring of 1979, and was sold via Sotheby's auction house in 1993.

My bottle was painted in the Fall of 1982.

The script on the reverse side is a short biography which can be read :

"Albert Einstein is the most famous physicist worldwide. It was a miracle when he developed the general theory of relativity which is a theory of time and space , and relationship between the matter and the motion of the matter".

First three pics are my bottle.. Last one is the Master Wang Xisan bottle.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Chinese Snuff Bottle by Zhang Yu

It is rare, but sometimes an extra nicely painted Modern bottle is signed by an artist real name, or art name that there is absolutely no record of.. An artist that in this case is of a much higher caliber than a student. Perhaps not that of a Master, but not far from it.. These painted bronze vessels are signed Zhang Yu, and also signs off as, "Master of the Fine Craft Studio" ( 精艺轩主人 ) which I learned means nothing more than it came from a small, maybe even a one person studio. It is not dated, but estimated as recent as ten years. The date and all the info above was shared with me by a couple of collector friends.. Thank you Steven, Richard, Peter, and Inn Bok.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Yong Shou Tian Painted Chinese Snuff Bottle

Yong Shou Tian 永寿田 sometimes signed 永受田 like this bottle..  Same pronunciation.

The front side of this 3 3/8" tall bottle depicts "Demons of Blackwater River Carrying Away the Master", The legend tells the story of how the Monkey became a god.

One day the Master suddenly exclaimed: “What is that noise?” Sun replied: “You are afraid; you have forgotten the Heart Prayer, according to which we are to be indifferent to all the calls of the six senses—the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind. These are the Six Thieves. If you cannot suppress them, how do you expect to see the Great Lord?” The Master thought a while and then said: “O disciple, when shall we see the Incarnate Model (Ju Lai) face to face?”

Pa-chieh said: “If we are to meet such demons as these, it will take us a thousand years to get to the West.” But Sha Ho-shang rejoined: “Both you and I are stupid; if we persevere and travel on, shoulder to shoulder, we shall reach there at last.” While thus talking, they saw before them a dark river in flood, which the horse could not cross. Seeing a small boat, the Master said: “Let us engage that boat to take us across.” While crossing the river in it, they discovered that it was a boat sent by the Demon of Blackwater River to entrap them in midstream, and the Master would have been slain had not Sun and the Western Dragon come to the rescue.

This reverse side is painted warrior scene