Hardstone Snuff Bottles


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Jasper snuff bottle with a seated monkey, 1736–1795.

Agate snuff bottle with a bird, a deer, a wasp, and a monkey forming a visual pun, 1800–1880.

Transaprent greenish-blue aquamarine with some iridescent flaws, carved with a continuous design, but concentrated on the narrow sides, of two chi dragons, one spewing vapour from its mouth

Flawless, very slightly brownish crystal; carved on each side with a recessed circular panel, one with two birds perched in the branches of a tree growing above a rocky outcrop with chrysanthemums growing beside it.

An inkstone snuff bottle carved on both sides with dragons chasing flaming pearls, Imperial Guangzhou, 1780-1820.

Opaque, variegated dark and pale olive-green and olive-yellow, dark vermillion-red, and yellow-ochre jasper; carved using the natural colours in the stone, one main side with a carp rising from formalized waves, emitting a spume of vapour from its mouth.

Sedimentary limestone with marble; the opaque purplish-brown stone with two bands of crystalline and pale beige marble running through it around the body of the bottle

Quartz conglomerate with flint inclusions of predominantly grey and brown colours in a speckled beige matrix; of well hollowed, compressed spherical form with a cylindrical neck, concave lip and protruding, concave oval foot surrounded by a flat footrim

Semi-transparent to translucent sapphire and gilt-bronze; of compressed spherical form, with a waisted neck, flat lip and protruding, flat oval foot; the narrow sides carved as flat facets, the neck made of gilt-bronze

Transparent, deep ruby-pink tourmaline; carved in the form of a section of bamboo culm, with a small spray of leaves growing from one node, with a pine tree and blossoming prunus tree growing alongside it

Turquoise matrix, of well patinated greenish colour with black veining; of natural, pebble form; one main side with an inscription in seal script low in one corner, Wuwei zhenwan (‘Precious plaything of Wuwei’)

Shale (of the variety known as Duan-stone); engraved on one main side with the Qianlong Emperor's Imperial encomium praising Duan-stone in regular script followed by Yu zhi ('By Imperial Command')