This well-known scene of the two Qiao sisters, famous for their legendary beauty, is taken from the classic, Sanguo yanyi (Romance of the Three Kingdoms). For a discussion of this subject, see G. G. Laverlochere, 'Romance of the Three Kingdoms: Source of Snuff Bottle Subjects,' Journal, The International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society, Spring, 1988, pp.12-13.
For two similar bottles painted with the Qiao sisters, one dated 1895 and the other dated 1900, see H. Moss, Snuff Bottles of China, London 1971, pp.136-137, nos. 338 and 347 respectively. The latter bottle, dated 1900, was part of the Reif Collection, and sold in our New York Rooms, 18 October 1993, lot 202.