Nephrite of pebble material; with a small mouth and well hollowed, the russet skin on one side carved with Shou Lao in long robes clutching a staff and being offered a peach by a monkey, the reverse with Magu steering a tree-boat, with a double- gourd dangling from a branch above, the narrow sides with panels in low relief carved respectively with spotted deer and rocks and a crane beneath a pine tree, the foot rim of rectangular section neatly carved, Master of the Rocks school.
Robert Kleiner (2005)
The Golden Autumn Collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles by Robert Kleiner, no. 67
This is a rare example of a bottle from this school which does not have the characteristic mask and ring handles on the narrow sides but carved decorative panels instead. The main sides have been skilfully conceived in order to use the russet skin on both sides of the original pebble and the overall scheme is similar to that on a bottle discussed in Treasury I, no. 133, which the authors suggest has strong clams to have been made in Suzhou, possibly for the court, on account of the chi dragons on its narrow sides and the signature of Zigang, a celebrated Suzhou carver of the Ming dynasty on the reverse. The incised details and varying relief of the carving are typical of the mainstream style of the school. Shoulao, depicted on one side, was the God of Longevity and is always depicted holding a peach, taken in this case by a monkey from the garden of the Queen of the West. The symbolism is completed by Magu, the Goddess of longevity on the reverse side, who Is often depicted sailing in a boat made from a tree trunk.