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Bonhams to offer snuff bottles from the private collection of Barbara & Marvin Dicker
An agate snuff bottle with Liu Hai and toad, Suzhou School. Est. $8,000 - 12,000. Photo: Bonhams.


NEW YORK, NY.- New York –Asia Week 2015 at Bonhams New York will begin with a specially curated 100 lot-strong sale of snuff bottles from the Barbara and Marvin Dicker Collection on March 16 at 10am at Bonhams New York.

Barbara and Marvin Dicker began collecting snuff bottles in the early 1980s fascinated by their intricate carvings, the natural materials, and the symbolism. Their collection of glass overlays, ceramics, jade and more showcases strong examples of expert carving and intricate decoration, and presents a variety of natural forms and colors that are rare to find in the current market.

Among the highlights are:

A beautifully-carved cameo agate snuff bottle from the Suzhou School (1780-1860), estimated at $8,000 – 12,000. The translucent gray and russet toned stone is carved in high relief using the darker markings naturally found in the stone. It depicts Liu Hai, the Chinese god of wealth and prosperity, carrying a double-gourd and broom with a three-legged toad behind him and a bat in flight above.

A yellow jade snuff bottle (1750-1820) that is estimated at $8,000 – 10,000. The Dickers were particularly fond of their jade bottles and this one is a fine example. It is a rare piece because of the unique color—the hue of yellow that the Chinese call “steamed chestnuts” and find incredibly attractive. Jade snuff bottles are appreciated for their tactile quality; the way the bottle feels is as important as how it looks. This bottle is very well-hollowed and, aside from the lion-mask-and-ring handles, is left plain.

An enameled and wonderfully slip-decorated Yixing snuff bottle (1800-1880) is estimated at $5,000 – 7,000. Good Yixing snuff bottles are quite popular on the market and becoming quite scarce, particularly bottles with such a high quality slip decoration, which makes this piece a rare find. The rounded-rectangular form has recessed panels on the flattened sides that are skillfully applied with slip decoration.

One of the panels feature two doves in a garden setting against a cobalt blue enamel, and the other panel depicts two Pekinese amidst flowers sprouting from rocks.

A finely carved Duanstone snuff bottle (1750-1800), estimated at $4,000 – 6,000, is a very special bottle made from ink stone that comes from Duan province. It is a very rare and unique piece because the stone displays a blend of not two but three natural colors- dark brown, pale green, and beige ochre.

A great example belonging to the Official School (1780-1860), a fine agate snuff bottle with figural decoration (est. $3,000 – 5,000). On one side, the bottle is finely carved in relief to present two seated scholars playing a game of weiqi. The attractive grey stone is well-hollowed out and represents the Qing dynasty artisans' outstanding skill in editing the natural colors of a remarkable piece of stone.

A silhouette agate that is minimally polished, this rounded-square bottle is of a warm honey-brown color and depicts a bearded foreigner carrying a sack and basket. It is estimated at $3,000 – 5,000.

Dessa Goddard, Vice President and Director of Asian Art at Bonhams says, "Bonhams is delighted to present the snuff bottle collection of Barbara and Marvin Dicker during New York Asia Week, maintaining our position as a market leader in the sale of fine private collections of snuff bottles to the international collecting community.”

The auction will begin at 10 am.






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