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    Sale 1977

    The Meriem Collection Important Chinese Snuff Bottles, Part II

    19 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 276

    A FINE AND VERY RARE ENAMELED PORCELAIN SNUFF BOTTLE

    IMPERIAL, JINGDE ZHEN KILNS, QIANLONG FOUR-CHARACTER SEAL MARK IN IRON-RED AND OF THE PERIOD (1736-1795)

    Price Realised  

    A FINE AND VERY RARE ENAMELED PORCELAIN SNUFF BOTTLE
    IMPERIAL, JINGDE ZHEN KILNS, QIANLONG FOUR-CHARACTER SEAL MARK IN IRON-RED AND OF THE PERIOD (1736-1795)
    Of flattened form with flat lip and flat, rectangular base, a raised circular panel on each main side with a finely painted design in famille rose enamels of peonies, magnolias and other flowers growing beside a perforated ornamental rock, the narrow sides painted with formal lotus and floral scrolls, the mouth encircled by a band of pendent lingzhi heads in iron-red enamel, the lip gilt, the base with a four-character mark in seal script reading Qianlong nian zhi (Made in the Qianlong period) within a double line border, gilt-metal stopper
    2 17/64 in. (5.8 cm.) high


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    In the early-Qianlong period, under the directorship of Tang Ying at Jingde Zhen, a series of spectacular enameled porcelain snuff bottles were produced in very small quantities for the court. This set the standard for porcelain production of Imperial snuff bottles into the Daoguang period, although stylistically the designs and forms changed considerably over the century of their production. This superb and rare example probably dates from the mid-Qianlong reign, while production was either still under the control of Tang Ying, or still heavily influenced by his style and spectacular quality of enameling. See a Qianlong-marked example illustrated in Snuff Bottles in the Collection of the National Palace Museum, no. 77 (but without the pendent lingzhi-heads around the mouth); and another in D. Low, More Treasures from the Sanctum of Enlightened Respect, no. 162.
    For a Jiaqing marked example of the evolving group, see lot 232.

    The slightly raised circular panels on this bottle derive from early Beijing enamel and glass snuff bottles from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, themselves possibly inspired by the case decoration of imported European pocket watches.

    The magnolia is a symbol of purity and its name is a pun on the Chinese word for "jade" (yu). See the note to lot 212 for an explanation of the symbolism of the peony.

    Provenance

    Robert Hall, London, 2000.
    Hugh Moss Ltd.