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Fig. 4. A green-glass overlay snuff bottle. Yangzhou school, 1800–1840. Fig. 5. A rare inscribed coconut shell snuff bottle, 1800–1880. Fig. 6. An enameled porcelain fictional figures snuff bottle. Imperial, Jingdezhen kilns. Daoguang mark and of the period, 1821–1850. Fig. 7. An incised pale celadon jade snuff bottle, 1770–1820. 27 One of the first casualties at the sale was an exquisite yellow jade bottle in the form of a double gourd that was nicely carved with a cloth surround (lot 9021). Although a knockout in conception, perhaps the slightly grayish-yellow color of the stone, the slight lean to one side, or the slightly overoptimistic estimate of $20,000– $30,000 deterred active bidding. A shadow agate bottle of great merit exceeded its low estimate, selling at $12,500 (lot 9026, fig. 3 ). It has a stellar provenance, having been in the Eric Young Collection prior to 1982 and later published by Robert Hall. 2 It clearly depicts three bats and a trailing gourd, alongside a billowing banner incised Hong fu wan dai (Great blessings through the ages) carved as a silhouette from the dark skin of the stone. Hall bid judiciously on the bottle, but it ended up selling to an anonymous telephone bidder. Another fine bottle, a green-glass overlay, has been published by Elsa Glickman ( op. cit ., figure M), who had bought it from Hugh Moss Ltd (lot 9034, fig. 4 ). It is of flattened circular shape and most delicately carved through a rich emerald green overlay. The gradation of carving depth created different tones of green that enhance the depictions of a melon trailing tendrils on one side and on the other a bull frog with lotus and rippling water. These particularly lovely examples of the so-called Yangzhou Seal School, probably dateable to the first half of the nineteenth century, are characterized by a low-relief silhouette of overlay on a single ground color, a distinctive painterly style, and often seals and inscriptions, here the inscription including a Qiuwan seal. Like other bottles of this ilk, the decoration is laid out in two separate scenes rather than a continuous one. Unusually, there are no mask handles to the narrow sides of the bottle, a feature common to this group. The sale then moved on to properties from various unnamed owners, although this was not made abundantly clear, and therefore easily missed. This might have been obvious to the seasoned bidder, however, as among the next eleven bottles, all lacking provenance, only four found buyers. All but one of the next six bottles, all from the estate of Joanna Lau Sullivan, found new homes, stressing the importance of provenance. Among them was a ravishing coconut shell bottle consisting of two thin convex segments held together along the narrow vertical edge by small pins, probably made of bamboo (lot 9056, fig. 5 ). One side is carved with a large, archaistic intaglio inscription, imitating that found on ancient bronze vessels. This is accompanied by a more legible reading of the same text in regular script and an unidentified signature. There was considerable interest in such inscriptions among the scholarly class during the middle and late Qing Dynasty, as they revealed the origins and evolution of the Chinese language, a subject close to the scholars ’ heart. The other side of the bottle was lightly engraved with a river scene, probably Su Dongpo ’ s visit to the Red Cliffs. It sold to Moss, against a telephone bidder, for $13,750, well over its conservative $2,000 low estimate. Another rather lovely porcelain bottle of unusual ovoid shape, but with no provenance noted, was purchased by Andrew Cheung, the Hong Kong collector, against a telephone bidder, for the reasonable sum of $3,750 (lot 9071, fig. 6 ). It is painted with a continuous scene in multiple enamels with the episode from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms when the military strategist Zhuge Liang turns the tables on the better-equipped army of General Cao Cao through a feigned attack on his adversary, in which by means of straw- roofed canopies, he gathers the arrows futilely fired at his vessel for his own later use. It expresses the ability to use the strength of others for one ’ s own means. Among the last items offered to round out the sale were two very nice jade bottles and a fine porcelain example. One of the jade bottles is of a narrow spade shape that feels weighty in the hand yet delicate to the touch (lot 9110, fig. 7 ). It is incised on one side

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