Thu, 29th Sep 2022 13:00

DAY 1 - TWO-DAY AUCTION - Fine Chinese Art / 中國藝術集珍 / Buddhism & Hinduism

 
  Lot 65
 

65

Ɏ A RARE HORNBILL ‘HORSEMEN’ SNUFF BOTTLE, 19TH CENTURY
十九世紀罕見鶴頂紅雕刀馬人物場景鼻烟壺

Starting price
€1,500
Estimate
€3,000
 

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Lot details

Opinion: The superb color and excellent polish of the present bottle suggest that it was created by using the ancient and today lost method of treating hornbill (see detailed note below), giving the material a rich translucency and protecting it from cracking over time. The carved decoration is well rendered and rare to find in such an elaborate manner on hornbill snuff bottles. Finally, the ovoid form, quite different from the rectangular forms commonly found, indicates that this is an early yet fine example from this rare group.

China. Well hollowed, the pear-shaped body supported on a short waisted foot and rising to an everted lip with flat top. Finely carved with a continuous scene of three horsemen in a landscape with craggy rockwork and a waterfall as well as pine and willow trees, the lower part of the short sides as well as the foot retaining the characteristic deep red color of the outer sheath layer of the hornbill, creating a unique contrast to the inner layer of translucent honey-yellow tone.

Provenance: Collection particulière dans le département Eure-et-Loir, France.
Condition: Very good condition with significant old wear, natural imperfections to the material, few microscopic age cracks, and few minuscule nicks. Magnificent natural patina overall.

Stopper: Turquoise glass with black platelet
Weight: 29.5 g
Dimensions: Height including stopper 79 mm, Diameter neck 14 mm and mouth 5 mm

Hornbill was a highly valued material in China well before snuff bottles came into fashion in the Qing dynasty, after tobacco was introduced from the West in the early 18th century. The precise value is listed in the official regulations of the Ming dynasty, which set it for a single piece of ‘ho-ting’ (the term given to the material by Ming scholars, writing it with the characters for ‘crane’ and for ‘head’) at a thousand cash, the same amount given for half an ounce of precious coral beads, or a fifth of an ounce of rare seed pearls. This also shows that hornbill was worth far more than elephant ivory at that time, for the latter was valued at five hundred cash per pound, while it would have taken a great many pieces of ho-ting to make a pound, especially since the term was sometimes applied to the red sheathing alone.

It is thought that there were once two distinct methods of treating hornbill, the solid casque with the tough red sheath that sits atop the upper beak, protecting the brain of the bird. The secret of the first method appears to have been lost but may have involved heating and perhaps permeating the material with some preservative. All known early pieces seem to have been handled this way, including snuff bottles. This treatment preserves the material very well, giving it a rich translucency and strength. We can only infer this preliminary manipulation from the finished product, since no direct information about the techniques of treating hornbill ivory has been recorded. Any special methods used by Chinese craftsmen were always kept as closely guarded secrets, by the guilds involved, to forestall outside competition. The second method involved carving the material directly, which left the surface prone to cracking.



十九世紀罕見鶴頂紅雕刀馬人物場景鼻烟壺
中國。掏膛良好,梨形壺身,壺口平且外撇,短圈足。精美雕刻刀馬人物場景,四周山石嶙峋,飛瀑流泉,松柳林立,巧妙利用外鞘層深紅色雕刻岩石。鶴頂紅角半透明的蜜色內層顯得晶瑩潤澤。

專家注釋:此鼻烟壺色澤上乘瑩潤,表明它是使用已失傳的鶴頂紅角處理方法製成的,使材料具有半透明性,並防止其隨著時間的推移而開裂。鶴頂紅鼻烟壺上的浮雕精美,難得一見。最後,與常見的矩形完全不同的卵形表明這是一件鶴頂紅雕刻初期的產物。

來源法國 Eure-et-Loir省私人收藏。
品相:品相極好,有明顯的磨損,材料天然瑕疵,輕微年代裂縫,少量微小劃痕。整體呈現光澤自然瑩潤。

壺蓋:綠松石色玻璃,黑色托片
重量:29.5 克
尺寸:高 (含蓋)79 毫米,頸部直徑14 毫米及壺口直徑5 毫米

鶴頂紅在清代鼻烟壺流行之前,早在十八世紀初從西方傳入煙草,在中國就已備受推崇。明朝的官規中列出了準確的價值,將其定為單片“鶴頂”一千金,相當於半盎司珍貴珊瑚珠或五分之一盎司稀有珍珠的價值。這也說明鶴頂紅在當時的價值遠超象牙,因為後者價值五百現金一磅。

 
 

Opinion: The superb color and excellent polish of the present bottle suggest that it was created by using the ancient and today lost method of treating hornbill (see detailed note below), giving the material a rich translucency and protecting it from cracking over time. The carved decoration is well rendered and rare to find in such an elaborate manner on hornbill snuff bottles. Finally, the ovoid form, quite different from the rectangular forms commonly found, indicates that this is an early yet fine example from this rare group.

China. Well hollowed, the pear-shaped body supported on a short waisted foot and rising to an everted lip with flat top. Finely carved with a continuous scene of three horsemen in a landscape with craggy rockwork and a waterfall as well as pine and willow trees, the lower part of the short sides as well as the foot retaining the characteristic deep red color of the outer sheath layer of the hornbill, creating a unique contrast to the inner layer of translucent honey-yellow tone.

Provenance: Collection particulière dans le département Eure-et-Loir, France.
Condition: Very good condition with significant old wear, natural imperfections to the material, few microscopic age cracks, and few minuscule nicks. Magnificent natural patina overall.

Stopper: Turquoise glass with black platelet
Weight: 29.5 g
Dimensions: Height including stopper 79 mm, Diameter neck 14 mm and mouth 5 mm

Hornbill was a highly valued material in China well before snuff bottles came into fashion in the Qing dynasty, after tobacco was introduced from the West in the early 18th century. The precise value is listed in the official regulations of the Ming dynasty, which set it for a single piece of ‘ho-ting’ (the term given to the material by Ming scholars, writing it with the characters for ‘crane’ and for ‘head’) at a thousand cash, the same amount given for half an ounce of precious coral beads, or a fifth of an ounce of rare seed pearls. This also shows that hornbill was worth far more than elephant ivory at that time, for the latter was valued at five hundred cash per pound, while it would have taken a great many pieces of ho-ting to make a pound, especially since the term was sometimes applied to the red sheathing alone.

It is thought that there were once two distinct methods of treating hornbill, the solid casque with the tough red sheath that sits atop the upper beak, protecting the brain of the bird. The secret of the first method appears to have been lost but may have involved heating and perhaps permeating the material with some preservative. All known early pieces seem to have been handled this way, including snuff bottles. This treatment preserves the material very well, giving it a rich translucency and strength. We can only infer this preliminary manipulation from the finished product, since no direct information about the techniques of treating hornbill ivory has been recorded. Any special methods used by Chinese craftsmen were always kept as closely guarded secrets, by the guilds involved, to forestall outside competition. The second method involved carving the material directly, which left the surface prone to cracking.



十九世紀罕見鶴頂紅雕刀馬人物場景鼻烟壺
中國。掏膛良好,梨形壺身,壺口平且外撇,短圈足。精美雕刻刀馬人物場景,四周山石嶙峋,飛瀑流泉,松柳林立,巧妙利用外鞘層深紅色雕刻岩石。鶴頂紅角半透明的蜜色內層顯得晶瑩潤澤。

專家注釋:此鼻烟壺色澤上乘瑩潤,表明它是使用已失傳的鶴頂紅角處理方法製成的,使材料具有半透明性,並防止其隨著時間的推移而開裂。鶴頂紅鼻烟壺上的浮雕精美,難得一見。最後,與常見的矩形完全不同的卵形表明這是一件鶴頂紅雕刻初期的產物。

來源法國 Eure-et-Loir省私人收藏。
品相:品相極好,有明顯的磨損,材料天然瑕疵,輕微年代裂縫,少量微小劃痕。整體呈現光澤自然瑩潤。

壺蓋:綠松石色玻璃,黑色托片
重量:29.5 克
尺寸:高 (含蓋)79 毫米,頸部直徑14 毫米及壺口直徑5 毫米

鶴頂紅在清代鼻烟壺流行之前,早在十八世紀初從西方傳入煙草,在中國就已備受推崇。明朝的官規中列出了準確的價值,將其定為單片“鶴頂”一千金,相當於半盎司珍貴珊瑚珠或五分之一盎司稀有珍珠的價值。這也說明鶴頂紅在當時的價值遠超象牙,因為後者價值五百現金一磅。

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Auction: DAY 1 - TWO-DAY AUCTION - Fine Chinese Art / 中國藝術集珍 / Buddhism & Hinduism, Thu, 29th Sep 2022

Galerie Zacke is honored to present Fine Chinese Art, Buddhism & Hinduism, a two-day premium auction. The flagship auction will happen on Day 1 of the sale, showcasing 267 items, including several masterpieces from notable collections.

Extensively researched, the two-day auction features 151 named provenances. Highlights include important names in the industry, such as Linda Wrigglesworth, Susan Chen, Charlotte Horstmann, Hisazo Nagatani, Dr. Wou Kiuan, E & J Frankel, Robert Kleiner, Marchant & Son, Sam Bernstein, Sydney Moss, Hugh Moss, Roger Keverne, A & J Speelman, Hedda and Lutz Franz, the Bernheimer Collection, Leo Diamond, Acher Eskenasy, and Captain Charles Oswald Liddell. There are also more than 20 museum deaccensions from institutions around the world. 

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