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Important Chinese Snuff Bottles From The J&J Collection, Part V
17 September 2008
New York, Rockefeller Plaza
**A VERY RARE PALE GREEN GLASS SNUFF BOTTLE
IMPERIAL, PALACE WORKSHOPS, BEIJING, QIANLONG YUWAN FOUR-CHARACTER SEAL MARK AND OF THE PERIOD (1736-1795)
Of compressed form with flat lip and recessed, convex oval foot surrounded by a footrim, each shoulder carved with loop and ring handles, the foot with the inscription Qianlong yuwan ('For the Imperial enjoyment of the Qianlong Emperor') in positive seal script, tourmaline stopper with vinyl collar
1 in. (4.88 cm.) high
Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.
Snuff Bottles of the Ch'ing Dynasty, p. 70, no. 70
Moss, Graham, Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, Vol. 2, no. 334
Silver Kris, February 1995, p. 40, fig. a
Hong Kong Museum of Art, October-December 1978
Christie's, New York, 1993
Empress Place Museum, Singapore, 1994
Museum für Kunsthandwerk, Frankfurt, 1996-1997
Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, London, 1997
Naples Museum of Art, Florida, 2002
Portland Museum of Art, Oregon, 2002
National Museum of History, Taipei, 2002
International Asian Art Fair, Seventh Regiment Armory, New York, 2003
Poly Art Museum, Beijing, 2003
The mark on the base of the bottle is one of the highest levels of Imperial marks and ranks with yushang ('For Imperial appreciation'), yubao ('Imperial treasure' or 'to be treasured by the Emperor') and yuyong ('For Imperial use'). They all imply that the object was made for the Emperor's personal delight or use. As such, they rank above yuzhi ('by Imperial command') in the hierarchy of marks.
One factor which determined which individual objects bore certain types of reign marks was the level of direct Imperial involvement or interest. The simple and elegant style of this bottle would have appealed to the Qianlong Emperor, particularly within the context of his preference for jade carvings. He considered the development in arts and crafts around the country, and particularly at Suzhou, vulgar, trivial and over-decorated. His love of archaic bronzes and jades is well known, and the present bottle, with its plain loop and ring handles, brings to mind the simplest type of handle on Han bronzes.
The combination of the material, style, and mark, are all attributes not only of the Beijing Palace glassworks, but of the range of personal accoutrements of the Emperor.
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