North American Auction Company
Timed Auction

Last Chance September Passed Lots Auction

Mon, Sep 25, 2023 02:00AM EDT - Fri, Sep 29, 2023 03:00PM EDT
Lot 618

Chinese Carved Resin Snuff Bottles (4), post 1940

Estimate: $200 - $400

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$50 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$35,000 $2,500
Featured in this lot are four (4) Chinese Carved Resin Snuff Bottles, circa mid-20th Century. Provenance: Private collection, Big Sky, Montana. These are mid-20th Century reproductions of 18th Century snuff bottles from the reign of Qian Long (1735-1796). The marks on the bottom read "Qian Long Nian Zhi" (Made During Reign of Qian Long) zhuanshu script; three have the lid and plastic spoon. Chinese snuff bottles are decorative containers originally produced during the Qing Dynasty. Their original purpose was to hold powdered tobacco, or snuff, a type of finely ground or shredded tobacco leaves popularized in China during mid-1600s of the Qing Dynasty for its medicinal advantages. While the Chinese found smoking tobacco distasteful, snuff, which mixed tobacco with herbs and spices, was believed to have medicinal properties. It was considered a cure for migraines, and as one high-ranking court scholar wrote, it was "said to be able to improve one's sight, especially to exorcise epidemic diseases." Because snuff was inhaled through the nose, it often caused one to sneeze, which was considered a means of purging illnesses and impurities. Thanks to China's humid climate, snuff would cake in a box, which could not be sealed very tightly, and so traditional Chinese medicine bottles made better containers. For the upper crust of Chinese society, a snuff bottle was the equivalent of a Rolex watch. A man talking to his colleagues would pull out his bottle and offer snuff to share so that the others could admire the beauty of his bottle. For this reason, the bottles were also used in bribes. The snuff bottles have Qianlong "reign mark" on metal plaques affixed to the underside of each bottle in zhuanshu script. This style of mark was particularly favoured in the Qianlong period. Chinese artisans copied reign marks from earlier dynasties out of a respect and reverence for these earlier periods. These marks are often referred to in auction catalogue descriptions as ‘apocryphal’ marks. Each bottle exhibits finely intricate detailing depicting garden and rural scenes, of flowers, trees, vines, houses and human figures. Two bottles are cream coloured, two replicate cinnabar red. These snuff bottles are in good overall condition, soiling noted to exteriors but no obvious damage observed. Largest bottle measures 3.25"H, smallest 2"H approximately. Total weight approximate 4oz

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