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    Sale 1977

    The Meriem Collection Important Chinese Snuff Bottles, Part II

    19 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 275

    **A BEIJING ENAMEL "EUROPEAN SUBJECT" SNUFF BOTTLE

    IMPERIAL, PALACE WORKSHOPS, BEIJING, QIANLONG FOUR-CHARACTER MARK IN BLUE ENAMEL AND OF THE PERIOD, 1736-1750

    Price Realised  

    **A BEIJING ENAMEL "EUROPEAN SUBJECT" SNUFF BOTTLE
    IMPERIAL, PALACE WORKSHOPS, BEIJING, QIANLONG FOUR-CHARACTER MARK IN BLUE ENAMEL AND OF THE PERIOD, 1736-1750
    Of compressed form with wide mouth, flat lip and recessed foot surrounded by a footrim, very finely enameled on one main side with a European lady in pink robes and an orange beaded necklace with a young boy in orange robes holding a fruit to his mouth, with buildings in the Western architectural style in the background, the other main side painted with another European lady dressed in orange, pink and green robes holding up a pink blossom in a basket, a young boy in blue tugging at her right elbow, both figures framed by rocks, trees and further European-style buildings, all between formal floral borders that extend to the narrow sides and shoulders, the neck encircled by a band of stylized scrolling foliage, the exposed metal at the neck and foot gilded, the foot inscribed with a four-character mark in regular script in blue enamel, Qianlong nian zhi (Made in the Qianlong period), gilt-metal stopper
    1 53/64 in.( 4.6 cm.) high


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    The decoration on this bottle shows the influence of Jesuit artists at the Chinese Court, who passed their skills on to the craftsmen employed at the Imperial workshops and drew up designs for enameled wares. The Jesuits also presented the emperor with French and Swiss enameled panels and other objects, which also inspired the court enamelers. During the Qianlong reign, European figures painted by Court artisans were fashionable, popular among them women with cherubic male children, as here, loosely clad in clothing with a mass of folds and painted in a palette featuring sapphire-blue, ruby-red and rich orange-yellow enamels, which replicates the French and Swiss enamels of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

    An artistic device used by Palace enamelers throughout the Qianlong period was stippling, the gradation of shade or color by applying a mass of tiny dots. Technically, this allowed the painter to vary the intensity of color without having to constantly adjust the saturation of the enamel. The alternative was to dilute color intensity by means of washes. The present bottle is predominantly stippled to produce shading and volume.

    See R. Kleiner, Chinese Snuff Bottles from the Collection of Mary and George Bloch, no. 2, for another European subject Beijing enamel snuff bottle, with very similar treatment of the scrolls on the shoulders and also Western-style buildings in the background. Other comparable examples include one illustrated in Snuff Bottles in the Collection of the National Palace Museum, no. 18; and another in Masterpieces of Snuff Bottles of the Palace Museum, no. 19, which has similar scrolls on a brown background on the narrow sides.

    Special Notice

    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.


    Provenance

    Graham Thewlis Collection.
    Hugh Moss Ltd.


    Exhibited

    Canadian Craft Museum, Vancouver, 1992.