An amethyst 'landscape' snuff bottle, Rustic Crystal Master School, 1750-1860. Estimate US$ 2,000 - 3,000 (€1,800 - 2,700). Photo Bonhams.
The rounded rectangular bottle standing on an oval foot ring, rising to a straight cylindrical neck beneath a very subtly concave lip, carved in low relief with a continuous scene depicting an expand of lake surrounded by tree-accented rocky banks under a group of swallows flying high in the sky; the natural cloudy inclusions in the stone well incorporated into the landscape design, creating an atmospheric misty appearance. 2 7/16in (6.3cm) high
Provenance: Asiantiques, August 1996
Notes: The attribution of a group of crystal and quartzite bottles to the 'Rustic Crystal Master' refers to a yet unplaced school of hardstone carving active in China between circa 1730-1880. The instantly recognizable decorative style bears relation to literati landscape painting, with the vast majority worked in low relief. One other feature is the clever use of the natural flaws in the stone, and the ability of masterfully incorporating them into the design. For a discussion of the distinctive decorative styles of the school see A Treasury of Chinese Snuff Bottles, The Mary and George Bloch Collection, Moss, Graham, and Tsang, Hong Kong, 1998, Vol.2, no.255.