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    Sale 1977

    The Meriem Collection Important Chinese Snuff Bottles, Part II

    19 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 254


    YE BENGQI, BEIJING, 1957-1962

    Price Realised  


    YE BENGQI, BEIJING, 1957-1962
    Of compressed form with flat lip and recessed flat oval foot surrounded by a footrim, finely enameled with a continuous design of a lush garden setting, with a butterfly in flight above flowering magnolia growing beside a natural, perforated rock formation, the other main side with flowering roses and orchids growing beside another ornamental rock, all below a band of formalized floral scroll and a band of formalized lingzhi heads encircling the neck and shoulders, the base inscribed with apocryphal Qianlong four-character mark in blue enamel regular script, coral stopper
    2 15/32 in. (6.3 cm.) high

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    In early 1974, shortly before his death, Ye Bengqi admitted in an interview with Hugh Moss to producing perhaps thirty to forty copies of Imperial Palace enamels between about 1925 and 1940; he also identified a number of published and photographed works shown to him at the time as his own. Ye's copies are so impressive, that for half a century they convinced experts all over the world that they were genuine Qianlong products; and conversely, genuine examples, some of which are not as technically proficient, were subsequently questioned. Today Ye's works are treated as masterpieces in their own right. Although Ye did no enameling in the 1940s and the early 1950s, he took up the art again in the late 1950s in order to teach his star pupil Wang Xisan and produced a small number of bottles as demonstration pieces. Since they no longer needed to be exact copies of Imperial originals, these few later works are often stylistically more intriguing.

    For a lengthy discussion of enameled wares produced by the Ye family in Beijing, see H. Moss, "The Apricot Grove Studio, Part III: Enameled Glass Wares," JICSBS, Autumn 1985, pp. 116-30, where similar examples are illustrated. See also, Moss, Graham and Tsang, The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. The J & J Collection, no. 205 for a discussion of Ye Bengqi's talents as a copyist. For more recent updates on Ye's works, see also Hugh Moss, "Mysteries of the Ancient Moon," JICSBS, Spring 2006.

    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.


    Hugh Moss Ltd.