Fine & Rare Chinese Snuff Bottles
Freeman's Asian Arts specialist Richard Cervantes shares what he considers to be a stand out section of pieces being offered in our September 12 auction. Exhibition for this sale opens to the public on Tuesday, September 8 at 10am. We invite you to join us then to view these, and other works being offered in what will be our first auction of the fall season.
I am very pleased to be offering a select group of Chinese snuff bottles in Freeman’s forthcoming Asian Arts auction of September 12. Among them are two superb inside-painted bottles by Zhou LeYuan (Lot 35) and Wang Xisan (Lot 37). It was my pleasure to bring these bottles, along with other fine agate and jade bottles, to the Hong Kong International Antiques Fair in May. A special guest of the Fair, the modern master snuff bottle enameller You Fenghua, was in attendance and inspected the bottle attributed to her master of more than thirty years, Wang Xisan. Her kind smile and a nod indicated her approval. The two painted snuffs, along with the previously-mentioned jade and agate bottles, come from the collection of Mrs. John Dilks of Philadelphia.
A second group of fine and rare snuff bottles featured in the sale come from a Beverly Hills collector. From this bunch is an unusual diminutive Suzhou chalcedony bottle, an inside-painted agate bottle attributed to Ye Zhongsan and a remarkable famille rose enameled porcelain bottle bearing a Qianlong mark and consistent with imperial work of the period.
Two ladies from the Philadelphia area submitted snuff bottles inherited from their parents and acquired prior to the 1970s. These contributions enrich the snuff bottle section as a whole and should appeal to collectors looking beyond utmost age and value. From a good Daoguang ’18 Luohan’ porcelain bottle to inside-painted bottles by Ye Zhongsan (the crystal damaged, sadly) and the skilled but lesser-known artist Chen Dongsun, these Philadelphia-area snuffs are fresh to the market and conservatively priced for acquisition. A personal favorite is a malachite ‘three-legged toad’ snuff bottle. I feel I have handled very few malachite bottles with appreciable age, but this little bottle shows good signs of handling and is excellently carved –warts and all.
I invite you to please browse our auction catalogue and contact me with any inquiries. My staff and I are happy to share additional photographs, condition reports and information relating to these bottles and any other lots in the sale.
Department Head | Asian Arts