Introduction

Welcome to the Crane Collection.  It is my hope that you will find this revolutionary eBook to be of value and easy to use.  Those of us that have been involved in its planning and preparation are excited about this style of publishing. One of the advantages of web publication is that changes can be made as new knowledge becomes available and (new) bottles can be added to the publication.

I first became interested in snuff bottles in the summer of 1974.  I was living in Toronto at the time and lived close to an antique shop that focused on “art” objects that were of Chinese origin.  Canada had re-established diplomatic relationships with China, prior to the US, and Chinese objects were again freely coming into Canada.

I’ve always been a “collector” and attracted to beautiful objects.  I initially purchased about ten bottles, only one of which is in the collection today.  For the next twelve years, I did little with snuff bottles as I had lost interest in bottles as an art form.  All of that changed in 1986 -1987 with the occurrence of two auspicious events.  First I made a three week trip to China and became fascinated once again with Chinese snuff bottles.  Secondly, I met Clare (Lawrence) Chu in London at Gray’s Antique Market and ended up buying two additional snuff bottles with the promise of pictures of additional bottles.  The rest is history, as I became keenly interested in acquiring additional bottles that had artistic value. Today I have over 600 bottles.

I joined the International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society in the early 1990’s and have enjoyed getting to know other collectors and going to the conventions.  I thank Clare for most of the knowledge that I have today about these wonderful hand held objects.  Her insights, common sense, enthusiasm, and integrity have kept me absorbed in continuing to collect.  I would also like to thank Hugh Moss and Robert Hall for their special perspectives and warm friendship which have enrichened my collecting experience.

But, it is to Clare that special thanks are due; for without her hard work and commitment this eBook would not have been possible.  More importantly, the value and importance of the eBook has been greatly enhanced by the significant amount of original research that Clare has performed.  Thanks also go to Gloria Siegel, for her diligent work in documenting other examples and publications.

I could not have completed this project without the careful attention to detail provided by Karen Miranda, my associate for many years.  For seven years Karen has kept track of the bottles, created word files with dealer descriptions, scanned the halftones into our word files, and generally kept detailed records of everything.  More recently, India Lawrence has assisted in the final editing and proofing of the English and Chinese versions of the site.

I am indebted to Richard John Lynn, Professor Emeritus of Chinese Thought and Literature, University of Toronto, for his role in transcribing, translating and researching the meaning of bottle inscriptions.  Thanks also go to Catherine Xiaowen Xu, Ph.D. candidate in Chinese Literature at the University of Toronto, for her Chinese translations of Clare’s material.

The photography for the catalog was done by Biff Henrich of Keystone Film Productions, Buffalo, NY, and the web design and programming was done by Andrew Davis and Mike Beecher of Core101, Buffalo, NY.

Thank you for visiting The Crane Collection.