WFE 22 A gold-mounted jadeite snuff bottle

18th-19th century

The well hollowed bottle is of tapering oval form with a flat base and mounted in an elaborate floral network of gold filigree inset with precious stones and pearls. The jadeite is of apple-green tone with greyish mottling. The original gold stopper is inset with pink tourmaline. 6.9 cm high with stopper  

Provenance: Formerly in an European private collection
                     Sold at Christie’s London, 6 June 1994, lot no. 283
                     A Hong Kong private collection  

The combination of the delicate colour of the stone and the richness of the gold filigree inset with gems makes this bottle a jewel-like piece. This bottle was probably made during the late 18th or early 19th century and embellished later in the 19th century.

This sort of treatment of plain bottles started when the habit of snuff slowly declined towards the 20th century. Plain bottles, highly sought after previously, were no longer desired. Therefore, Chinese, and later Japanese, craftsmen started to embellish plain bottles to increase their attractiveness and to meet the taste of collectors. Examples embellished with such exclusive materials and elaborate designs are rare. A closely related snuff bottle with very similar gold and inset stones was sold at Christie’s.

Works of Art > Early Bronzes