This is undoubtedly one of our best ever offerings of a snuff bottle!
It is quite large at 3 1/2" x 2 3/4" across the front and 2" thick! It is 1 1/8" in diameter across the top of the neck. Also, it weighs 146 gm. It is in excellent condition. No cracks or other damages.
As thick as it is at the neck, the bottle retains a marvelous translucent quality and if held up to the light, light illuminates it!
The design work is carved 360 degrees around this bottle. The front has a large cartouche panel that features very detailed carvings of birds in branches. The color of this outermost layer is a deep russet and it is carved through to lighter shades of russet to a rich caramel color. The sides shade to various shades of celadon to gray. The sides and back carvings come together for a view of prunus trees in a landscape scene with a house and a bridge.
The bottle is beautifully polished to a sheen. The base is a polished flat bottom. The lid is beautifully matched in terms of color and size. The 'spoon' part is snapped off where the cork meets the cap and is thus not available.
In case you are not aware of the evolution of snuff bottles in China, here is a brief summary of its history:
Probably because smoking tobacco was illegal during the Qing Dynasty, snuff, the powdered form of tobacco rose to an elevated status. It soon became commonly believed that snuff cured common illnesses such as cold, headaches, and stomach problems. In its earliest days, snuff was smoked in pipes. Eventually, it was carried in bottles. It was 'pinched' and snorted. In this form, it also took on a social aspect and a pinch of it was offered as a friendly gesture when greeting a friend.
The small bottles that held the snuff were often carved small enough to be held in the palm of the hand. At first, it was only the upper class that carried these little marvels. Eventually, they became very commonplace across all social classes. Over time, the bottles became objects of status and value and varied in type from the mundane to the sublime. So from a utilitarian object it became a highly valued work of art and because it was handled so often, its feeling good in the hand became as important as the visual beauty of it. Often, the imagery carved on the bottles held symbolic and even mythological significance. Some of the most beautiful bottles are utterly plain and the form itself holds the beauty. Most of us, however, value carved scenes or creatures (such as chilongs and dragons) the most highly.
The snuff bottles we offer are always selected because of their visually beautiful aspects and masterful carving. If it is an intricately carved bottle, then the quality of the carving is of vital importance to us when purchasing it. If it is a simple form, then it has been chosen because of the natural beauty of the stone or glass and the way the carver/artist has chosen to form it. Sometimes we make a selection based on the rareity of the symbology or the material. We price our bottles very reasonably because we are dismayed at how unscrupulous sellers charge very high prices for 'antique' bottles that are falsely identified as being prior to 1900. In most cases the average dealer, Chinese or American, cannot accurately date a bottle. Us included. Thus we do not date our bottles. We use the criteria described above to make our buying and pricing decisions. We leave the determination of age to our buyers who are often more knowledgeable then we are.
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