An inscribed Yixing snuff bottle, dated to the Bingshen year, corresponding to 1896, signed Xinzhou. Photo Sotheby’s
of flattened rectangular form with rounded corners, one side inscribed with five archaic characters enclosed within a cartouche reading mu fu zi gong gui, flanked by an inscription in clerical script, Mugong jue, and the date and signature in regular script, bingshen chu xia Xinzhou ke (Early summer of the bingshen year, carved by Xinzhou), the base impressed with one seal reading Xinzhou. Height 2 1/8 in., 5.4 cm. Estimation 40,000 — 60,000 USD
Provenance: Galia Baylin.
Arthur Gadsby, 1978.
J & J Collection, 2005.
Christie’s New York, 30th March 2005, lot 83.
George and Mary Bloch Collection, 2011.
Bonhams Hong Kong, 25th May 2011, lot 115.
PROPERTY FROM A MIDWEST PRIVATE COLLECTION
Exposition: Christie’s New York, 1993.
Empress Place Museum, Singapore, 1994.
Museum fur Kunsthandwerk, Frankfurt, 1996-1997.
Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, London, 1997.
Naples Museum of Art, Florida, 2002.
Portland Museum of Art, Oregon, 2002.
National Museum of History, Taipei, 2002.
International Asia Art Fair, Seventh Regiment Armory, New York, 2003.
Poly Art Museum, Beijing, 2003.
Litterature: Bob C. Stevens, The Collector’s Book of Snuff Bottles, New York, 1980, p. 103, no. 342.
Poly Art Museum, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle, Beijing, 2003, no. 259.
Asian Art, October, 2003, p. 16, fig. 3.
Hugh Moss, Victor Graham, Ka Bo Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, vol. 6, part 3, Arts of the Fire, Hong Kong 2009, p. 967, no. 1461.
The cyclical date on the present lot can correspond to either 1836 or 1896. According to Chinese sources, the artist He Xinzhou was active during the Tongzhi and Guangxu periods, which supports the later date. In addition, as mentioned in Hugh Moss, Victor Graham, Ka Bo Tsang, A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, vol. 6, part 3, Arts of the Fire, Hong Kong 2009, p. 967, no. 1461, in their discussion of this bottle, the transfer of ancient bronze inscriptions onto other works of art was fashionable throughout the 19th century, and many known examples on snuff bottles, Yixing teapots, bamboo wares and other art forms date from the mid-to late 19th century.
The archaic inscription on the bottle is a copy from an archaic vessel called a jue, called the Mugong jue, most likely from the late Shang dynasty. The inscription being the central decorative feature of the bottle, points to the appreciation and level of connoisseurship for archaism during the Qing dynasty.
SOTHEBY’S. FINE CHINESE CERAMICS & WORKS OF ART, NEW YORK | 16 SEPT. 2014, 10:30 AM